The Library of Michigan – housed within the state’s Department of Education – is partnering with Western Michigan University to launch a publicly available website called Wonder Media that aims to  create a greater degree of media and news literacy.

The new website provides users with a media literacy toolkit including materials that explain relevant and current topics, including daily media use, the history of forms of media, construction of social media posts, the business of media, and how algorithms work. In addition to media literacy, Wonder Media also provides interactive news literacy tips on important topics including conspiracy theories and fact-finding.

“The Library of Michigan is proud to be a part of a project that combats the spread of misinformation online,” said State Librarian Randy Riley. “Public library staff, now more than ever, need tools and resources to create meaningful and important programming to do so, and it is very exciting to know this toolkit is available.”

The toolkit also features activities to accompany site contents, including ready-made worksheets, programming ideas, and activities. The activities are available on the Resources page, which Department of Education officials said will be continually updated. On the Resources page, website users will also find lesson plans, suggestions of books and articles, and other website and online materials on media literacy and news literacy.

The website is aimed at middle school users, ages 11-14, but the Department of Education said many of the online games, videos, and program ideas are suitable for ages 10 and older.

“Improving literacy among Michigan’s children is one of our top priorities,” said Michigan Department of Education Superintendent Michael F. Rice. “In addition to learning how to read, our students also need to understand the different forms of news media and how to analyze media to determine accuracy and credibility.”

The website was born out of a successful two-year run of the Wonder Media: Ask the Questions! interactive exhibition at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum in Kalamazoo, Mich. The exhibition was a joint project of WMU and Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

“The project team of WMU, the Library of Michigan, and public library partners throughout Michigan are excited to share this first-of-its-kind resource with library patrons,” said Sue Ellen Christian, WMU 2021-24 Presidential Innovation professor in communication, who spearheaded the project. “This website aims to support the efforts of tweens, teens, and adults to wisely navigate today’s digital media landscape.”

The website was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Western Michigan University, and the Library of Michigan.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs