Program Presenters

A wide variety of talented K-12 educators, college faculty, activists and community media professionals are joining us for the Northeast Regional Media Literacy Conference, November 8 – 9, 2019 at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island.


Friday presenters are designated with white blocks.

Saturday presenters are designated with green blocks.

Joining Forces To Fight Disinformation In Its Diverse Forms

GILLIAN “GUS” ANDREWS, Keep Calm and Log On

Understand that disinformation can appear in many media forms. Become familiar with existing efforts to fight disinformation and identify effective and ineffective tactics to deal with different forms of disinformation

A Glimpse into the Inner World of Teenagers through their Films

DORIT BAILIN, Head of Film and Communication Programs, Ministry of Education, ISRAEL

Today, there are over 400 film and communication departments in high schools in Israel. Students, from 10th to 12th grade, are learning directing, production, cinema history etc. Each year, the graduates are required to team up and create a film. The process of finding a subject for the film is very personal. Every year we see how children open their heart and show us their inner world in movies

Music for Media Literacy in the Classroom

JILLIAN BELANGER, (Nowell Academy, Providence), FRANK ROMANELLI (URI), MICHAEL ROBBGRIECO (Windham Southwest S.U., Vermont)

Three educators share examples of classroom applications of using music for a variety of purposes in different learning spaces–university, high school, and teacher education classrooms. Attendees will participate in activities, share experiences, and create a fuller understanding of the importance of music as a component of media literacy. Examples include critical analysis of music videos, creating+sharing a autobiographical playlists, and jamming out to some sh*t that slaps. If you’re looking for an excuse to infuse your day with some Beyoncé, this is it.

Overcoming Obstacles to Media Literacy Education within US Prisons


This presentation draws on over a dozen successful media literacy education program sessions hosted in maximum and medium-security state correctional facility libraries. United States correctional facilities house nearly a quarter of the world’s prison population, many of whom are released after decades-long sentences into a society whose patterns of media engagement are distressingly different from the media landscapes they experienced prior to their periods of incarceration. The goal of this presentation is to share ways in which prison librarians and media literacy educators can work together and plan activities for environments in which digital media access is often institutionally limited.

Cutting Through the Clutter: Political Advertising and Rhetoric

BEN BOYINGTON, Global Critical Media Literacy Project

Discuss political advertising and rhetoric, with a focus on social media, to explore how it affects voting, political understanding, and public discourse. Understand the language of persuasion and learn deconstruction strategies relevant for classroom applications.

In the 21st century, our personal and shared visions of “teacher” continue to be influenced via digital and media formats. How do students intending to enroll in a teacher education program position themselves in terms of their own personal vision? What strong strong and lasting impressions related to their vision of “teacher” have been cultivated through repeated exposure to these digital and media formats?

Reflecting On Our Developing Teacher Identities

KAREN CAPRARO, Feinstein School of Education, Rhode Island College

During this roundtable presentation, attendees will hear how students, when charged with creating a media composition comparing and contrasting their developing teacher identity with the representations of teachers found in popular culture, responded to that charge.

Media Creation in Action: MLE Collaborative Principles in the Classroom

CARL CASINGHINO, Suffield High School, CT

This session offers practical examples and resources for project-based learning in the creation of media messages, along with opportunities for collaborative dialogue among peers. I will present cases of actual projects and describe how students are guided from development through completion, including the use of planning techniques, lesson structure, feedback, and peer- and self-assessment. Samples of recent student work will be presented and discussed, and educators will have opportunities to offer input and share perspectives. Work links to themes and builds on cases explored in my JMLE article concerning collaboration and feedback in the media literacy and production classroom.

Shifting Teacher Beliefs Through Digital Citizenship

MICHELLE CICCONE, Foxborough High School MA

A chasm persists in education, where some classrooms are led by early adopters of digital technologies and pedagogy and some are led by those reluctant to take on digital literacy at all. Can an expansive definition of digital citizenship, one that calls for the participation of informed users of digital technologies — teacher and student alike — motivate teachers, who are driven by a desire to positively impact students and society at large, so that all educators can come to see themselves as digital literacy teachers? This presentation will share some early findings in an action research project exploring this idea.

Understanding How Students Learn and Reason Together During Digital Inquiry

JULIE COIRO, Associate Professor, University of Rhode Island

Join us to learn about the features of a scenario-based virtual world platform designed to support the joint coordination of digital literacy skills (e.g., locating, evaluating, and synthesizing digital sources) and social deliberation skills in the context of a single scenario-based activity. We’ll also discuss examples of how pairs of high school age learners construct meaning together in face-to-face and remote contexts while engaged in the online inquiry activity.

Empowering Teachers with Digital Storytelling

JESSIE CURRELL, Hands On Media Education

Easily adaptable to a wide variety of themes, a Digital Story is a personal narrative created by weaving digital photographs, video, voice, text and music into a digital video project. In this three-hour PD workshop, educators are introduced to the experience of developing 2-3 minute narratives, plus important strategies for managing the creation of powerful and engaging digital stories in the classroom. This workshop is a great opportunity for educators to develop their technological know-how and digital skills, while learning more about themselves & students in their own communities.

Children, Gender Stereotypes, and Career Counseling

Laurie Dickstein-Fischer and Rebecca Hains, Salem State University MA

We share findings of our research on media literacy, gender stereotypes, and careers as we expand discourses on media literacy in relation to counseling psychology . In one-on-one interviews, we introduced sixteen elementary school children (ages 6 to 8) to counter-stereotypical characters from children’s television show Annedroids, including a girl scientist and a sentient, non-gendered, humanoid robot. We also examined participants’ adherence to gender stereotypes before and after viewing and discussing several Annedroids clips. Then, as a transfer task, we introduced each participant to PABI© (Penguin for Autism Behavioral Interventions), Dickstein-Fischer’s non-gendered “autism robot.” Results indicate that some participants’ gender-role beliefs did become more flexible after viewing, which has implications for the integration of media literacy experiences into elementary school counseling regarding careers and self-concept

Digital and Media Literacy in Grades 6 -12

CAROLYN FORTUNA, IDigMedia and Media Education Lab

Participants will learn how to conduct analysis and digital media composition based on standards, using a variety of digital texts, tools, and technologies. These will help foster challenging and engaging learning opportunities. By drawing direct connections to real world issues, teachers will encourage students to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active digital citizens. After exploring ready-to-use materials, applying rigorous standards, and planning ways to incorporate research-based teaching practices, participants will leave the workshop with ideas and tools for transforming classrooms with a repertoire of social justice-based digital media strategies.

Understanding Public Opinion Formation in the Digital Age through Critical Media Literacy

JULIE FRECHETTE, Worcester State University

Political elections and public opinion are being shaped by sophisticated means that involve data mining, algorithms, microtargeted ads, psychographics and surveillance. Today, ad buyers and political groups alike can select and target audiences based on a series of personal markers that can include a user’s geo-location, political leanings, and a series of personal interests. Ranging from as many as 1.5 billion daily users of social networks to as few as 20 people, microtargeting services can weaponize ad technology to try to influence consumer and voter behavior in any demographic area. I discuss the need for critical digital media literacy education curricula and initiatives to help apprise students, parents, and educators of data mining services by big tech giants to influence democracy and commerce through microtargeting, political partisanship,

Developing a Responsive and Adaptable Emergent Media Curriculum

Dennis Frohlich & David Magolis, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

As educators, how do we prepare college students not just for today’s careers, but also for lifelong competencies with media? The Mass Communications department at Bloomsburg University has developed a major and minor around Emergent Media. Media literacy is the foundation, as we teach students how to be competent producers and consumers of digital media. In this session, we will assist other educators in finding ways to make their curricula responsive and adaptable to a rapidly changing media environment.

AdSavvy Kids: Student Learning In Action

Nicole Galipeau (Bristol-Warren Regional School District) AND JENNIFER LADNER (Screen Savvy Kids)

Students are spending the equivalent of a 40-hour work week with screens – how do we as educators teach and empower our students to use media as a tool instead of just a toy? As a media education specialist and a teacher-librarian, we share ideas for practical application to teach students media literacy skills and concepts – for the school setting and for life-long learning.

Activating Inquiry through Global Propaganda

RENEE HOBBS, Media Education Lab, University of Rhode Island

Propaganda from around the world can be fascinating, and it can also open up the intellectual curiosity of learners, creating opportunities to develop research skills and digital literacy competencies. In this lesson demonstration, you’ll see how global propaganda can be used in English language arts, history and health classes to advance student learning.

Media Literacy as Lifelong Learning: The Early Years

JENN LADNER, Screen Savvy Kids

This session is designed to give educators practical ways for integrating media literacy into the curriculum at the elementary level. Participants in this session will leave with examples of hands-on activities that they can use in their classroom. Activities include: Digital Photography, Storytelling with Computers and Make Your Own Audiobook.

Expanding on Climate Change and the Media: What’s Coal Got to Do with It?

Kristina Markos (Simmons University) & Carolyn Fortuna (IDigItMedia & Media Education Lab)

We explore clean energy, climate change and emphasis on coal and innovation in the energy sector and how those entities are portrayed/discussed in the media and in pop culture. Audiences need to gain a global perspective, in terms of coal usage, to truly understand the dynamics at play for climate change. However, what many media outlets fail to do in the US and in Western countries is discuss the developing world’s dependence on coal, and how it directly impacts the entire globe. Our presentation uncovers the dynamics at play, provides statistical data about the energy sources the world is consuming, and gives context into how marketplace perceives the information given to it based on reports from the media and influencers and social media.

Porn Media Literacy

Odile Claire Mattiauda, Rhode Island College

This interactive session examines how, while public discourse often either silences (school curricula, news media), or reifies (popular culture media) sexuality, internet mainstream sexually explicit messages informed by a patriarchal framework normalize stereotypical sexual and gendered identity, expression, and behavior. Together, we explore how porn and media literacy provides us and our youth tools towards “educated,” healthy, and consensual sexual exploration.

A Pedagogy of Persistence

Paul Mihailidis & Moses Shumow, Emerson College MA

Today, many schools across the United States are exploring how their curricula can support pedagogy and practice for active engagement in civic life and support of positive social impact. However, they do so with a prioritization of STEM fields and a de-emphasis on the humanities and social sciences – disciplines that historically have been most closely aligned with struggles for greater social equity. This session responds to this paradox by exploring the phenomenon of persistence – what we are defining as sustained and long-term teaching and learning that shapes pedagogy around equality and inclusion–in support of sustained civic engagement, participation, and action from classrooms to communities. The discussion will frame media and digital literacies in an age of increased polarization and declining civic trust. We will engage in dialog with participants around the challenges they face in their classrooms and communities, and use this to articulate and document best practices for teaching and learning “persistence” in the age of polarization. We will share initial case studies from our newest book project, and emerging pedagogical models of what media literacies of persistence look like in college classrooms.

Digital and Media Literacy for Research and Computer Skills

BARBARA MILLER, Glocester, Rhode Island

Teaching digital literacy at the K-5 level acknowledges that young children have some degree of exposure to the digital world. However, all need guidance in how to respond to and communicate information digitally. Teaching these skills is more than replacing paper practices with digital apps. Children need to develop habits of mind that will equip them to navigate through the digital world and become effective and efficient users of digital information. Join this library/ digital media specialist as she models her journey to develop the topics of digital and media literacy in 2 divisions: research and computer skills. You’ll come away with resources for each category in the form of informational articles, videos, and/ or slide presentations that could be used to build and support digital literacy lessons.

Fun Hooks and Free Resources to Teach News Literacy

MARY MOEN, University of Rhode Island

Learn fun hooks to guide students into more serious critical thinking and analysis skills for news and information. Explore Allsides, a free educational website that provides news from diverse perspectives and teacher resources to support news literacy, civil dialogue and life skills. You’ll find a plethora of ideas to engage your students in media literacy, balanced news consumption, and more!

Media Literacy as a Social Justice Issue

Ava Montgomery, Conscious Media Consulting

This session is for participants who seek to be more culturally responsive in media literacy education. In this highly visual, interactive and engaging presentation, participants will view historical media through lenses of people who have been historically and are currently marginalized by the media and in the media. Participants will gain an understanding of how historical narratives and representations impact media creation, self-esteem and societal protections today. Some current “hot topics” in national media discourse-particularly those specific to African American/Black women and Black communities will inform and engage the discussion.

Teens Make Movies

SEJAL PATEL, Beaver Country Day School, MA

Making movies is all the rage among teenagers. What do they make movies about? They think, write, act, and collaborate creatively to make movies. Learn more about the topics, themes, and content they produce and share. The presentation will include viewing and discussing videos made by high school students. As a visual arts teacher, I see value in empowering teens to use video as a tool for both genuine self-expression and critical thinking when making and sharing videos on the internet.

The “Writing” Side of Media Literacy: Digital Writing Processes and Projects for the Classroom

Brett Pierce, Meridian Stories

Digital writing, inside of an educational context, can be understood as the collaborative process of creating narratives that address core curricula using imagery, text, sound and music. With the emergence of YouTube as a) the most popular online destination for youth; and b) a validating publishing platform for youth’s digital writing work, we, as educators, have to look at Digital Writing skills as essential to preparing youth for the future. This hands-on workshop will take participants through the process – no media production skills necessary! – and deliver a variety of activities to bring to classrooms and libraries.

Media Literacy in Practice: How to Use PBS and NPR Resources to Foster Media Literacy Learning

Rose Pierre-Louis and Jon Rubin, Connecticut and Rhode Island PBS

How do you teach a life skill like media literacy? There is no longer any doubt that today’s students need to develop stronger media literacy and critical thinking skills. But how do we ensure that we give students the skills they need to success as digital learners and citizens? Moreover, how do we support educators with media literacy education and tools for their classroom? Join Connecticut Public and Rhode Island PBS for a workshop presenting free tools for students and educators to help level up their media literacy skills. This workshop will be an interactive presentation of public media resources as well as an open discussion about strategies for incorporating media literacy in all classrooms.

Critical Enjoyment and Advocacy through Advertising

THERESA REDMOND, Appalachian State University

Media literacy has been criticized for contributing to social divides by spurring suspicion and doubt, rather than healthy skepticism. danah boyd’s (2017) Did Media Literacy Backfire? condemns media literacy. Yet, active scholarly-teachers in the field understand the complexities of media literacy as a pedagogical approach for inquiry, as Renee Hobbs (2017) articulated in her response to boyd. There is undoubtedly tension in how media literacy is enacted in classrooms— namely between authoritative approaches that generate distrust and empowering praxis that cultivates students’ healthy inquiry. In this session, I share strategies for teachers seeking to balance instruction so students become independent thinkers and makers of media.

Creating Pathways for Inclusion: Critical Media Literacy, Visual Methodology, and Learning in Higher Education


In this session, our interdisciplinary research cluster will share ongoing work where we disarticulate and relocate our teaching and research by examining the spaces where critical media literacy and visual methodologies overlap. Our exploration of this overlap has been enacted through traditional scholarly inquiry approaches combined with arts-based research methods, specifically visual journaling. In our cluster, we seek to broaden repertoires of praxis to promote creative, inclusive, and equitable learning cultures in higher education that incorporate digital and physical spaces and structures.

Whose News Literacy? Towards a Critical Approach


News literacy curricula and materials, like the ones offered by SUNY Stony Brook’s Center for News Literacy, give educators a great head start in planning a course or module, but what if that head start takes students down a cul-de-sac? News and media literacy ought to encourage critical thinking about the entire news ecosystem, not just the mainstream media and “fake news” outliers. A critical approach allows students explore filter bubbles and confirmation bias as learn about the entire gamut of news media, consider subjects like the revolutionary origins of journalism and about the roots of “liberal” and “conservative” thinking.

Black Mirror-Mirror


As Jill Lepore recently noted, we are living in a “golden age of dystopian fiction.” But some of the fiction is not so fictional. For example, many Black Mirror episodes offer thought-provoking and accessible introductions to FOMO, trolls, tracking, social media hoaxes, big tech, selfie-obsession and so many other aspects of our screen-mediated, digitized lives and relationships. By pairing an episode with online readings and viewings from sources like Psychology Today, the BBC and other sources, featuring thinkers like Sherry Turkle, Nicolas Carr and Tim Wu, students – working individually or in teams – might realize that “the future” is now.

Integrating Media Literacy in the Early Years


This session will look at emergent media literacy, weaving together inquiry-based pedagogy with practical suggestions for activities and simple “tweaks” to existing practice. to show how to integrate media literacy in developmentally appropriate ways for our youngest students.

Undergraduate Digital Writing and Rhetoric in a Project Based Environment

FRANK ROMANELLI, University of Rhode Island and the Media Education Lab

Each year, I have participated in the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy in Providence RI as either a participant or a team leader. Each year I have brought tools, ideas, and concepts to my undergraduate course in digital writing and rhetoric. This past year, I brought the whole institute with me and recreated the framework of the week around the course in which I use the text, Create to Learn by Renee Hobbs. This session will show examples of student work, classroom activities, and assignments used in this project-based inquiry approach to an undergraduate class.

Can You Spot a Fake?

EMILY SHRIVER, Rochester Institute of Technology

Review of results of a survey that asks, can the average media consumer determine if an photojournalistic image has been manipulated, enhanced, or original when viewing them on their own devices. The definition for manipulated vs enhanced in this study is that manipulated images have content added, removed, or significantly changed, while enhanced images only have aesthetic changes.

Capturing Critical Thinking in Action: Using Screencasting as a Tool for Student Engagement and Report Back

SAMANTHA STANLEY, University of Hong Kong/ University of Rhode Island

Wouldn’t it be great to see each of your students’ thinking critically about the source of online information in real time? Screencasting programs make it possible! This presentation demonstrates how screencasting was used by students to share their experience critically evaluating the sources journalists use in news stories. We will also hear feedback from students about their experience using a new digital tool to complete an assignment that would typically be done using text. Participants of this hands-on session will walk away with customizable lesson plans and materials ranging from software to rubrics to worksheets.

Media Literacy Advocacy & Policy

PAM STEAGER, Media Education Lab

It seems that almost everyone these days understands the need for media literacy education for all ages, but getting there is another matter. Learn about the national, regional and local efforts to advance media literacy and how you can get involved, if you’re not already. Share your efforts if you are!

The Black Panther & The Importance of Representation


Using one of the top 10 highest grossing films of our time, participants will explore the necessity of positive representation, the possibility for exploration of topics ranging from ancient civilizations to women in science, and the art of the revolution and community engagement. Marvel’s Black Panther, which is cemented in the psyche of children and adults alike, for its artistry, sights, sounds and connection to history, will be unpacked from an academic lens allowing us to use this engaging popular medium to awaken the imagination and broaden the minds of your scholars.

Figuring Out Fake News: The War of the Worlds Broadcast and Primary Sources in the Classroom

Marissa Vassari and Marina Lombardo, Rockefeller Archive Center

An archivist and a teacher collaborated on a scaffolded multi-week archival project in a 5th grade classroom that targeted media literacy skills through the lens of the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast. The lessons included a visit to the Rockefeller Archive Center, student-centered mixed media presentations, and primary source document analysis in small and large groups.

How to Make Money with Content Creation


Many love to create content but many do not know how to monetize the content that they are creating. In this session, audiences will learn not only how to monetize content, but also gain key wisdom and insights that will propel them into the careers and passions that they love!

Building a Shared Professional Vision through Video Analysis


Preservice educators engage in self-reflection cycles along with observation feedback to improve practice. But, sometimes there can be a disconnect between a teacher candidate’s fragmented recollections of their teaching and a clinical supervisor’s observation field notes. The use of video can bridge this gap. This session will highlight a continuum of video analysis being piloted in two early literacy methods courses in an effort to create a shared professional vision of effective classroom instruction.