Media Literacy and the Art of Storytelling, Ep. 01

This Spring I joined a group of 20+ educators from around Alaska for COVID-19 Podcasting & Digital Storytelling: Culturally Responsive and Social Emotional Best Practices, a virtual professional learning course offered by See Stories. I’ve been exploring the technical aspects of creating podcasts and telling stories, with an eye towards supporting teens as creators, as well as how to engage youth with social emotional learning. The course has provided a great opportunity to learn from other educators/learners and excellent instructors as well as a “moment” to reflect on what I consider valuable aspects of my work with youth and families in the public library.

I have been thinking about audio and oral storytelling more over the last year as I developed and hosted Radio Storytime in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and whole communities have a rich tradition of oral storytelling in Alaska and discussions within the course included how to foster those culturally important skills among youth. Podcasts and other digital storytelling platforms can offer opportunities for teens to be both the creator (storyteller, director, interviewer) and consumer (listener, reader, viewer), unlike what they might experience with other formats, books for example, where the roles are more static.

The beauty of podcasting and digital storytelling with teens, and this course’s focus in particular, is that it supports the key principles behind creative learning, grounds media literacy in social emotional learning and cultural identity, and gives youth tools and platforms to express their own ideas in meaningful ways, all ideas I think a lot about. The ultimate goal of the course is to incorporate podcasting into our work with teens, but for now each of us is learning the skills we’ll share with teens by creating our own podcasts. I have loved the time to explore how podcasts are made and the excuse to have deeper conversations about media literacy and youth, both of which this course offered me.

For my first foray into podcasting, I interviewed women with different perspectives of media literacy, learning and youth. Here is the first episode of my multi-part podcasting experiment in which I talk with friend and colleague Lisa Guernsey who is the director of the Teaching, Learning, & Tech program and senior advisor to the Early & Elementary Education Policy program at New America. From her role in national conversations about learning in a connected world, Lisa has a bird’s eye view of media literacy and youth.

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Media Literacy and the Art of Storytelling: Episode 01 with Lisa Guernsey