Online Digital Media in Elementary School: Promoting Cultural Understanding

Georgia State University
Renee Hobbs, Jiwon Yoon, Rawia Al-Humaidan, Aghigh Ebrahimi, Nuala Cabral

Digital and mass media play a significant role in the development of children’s understanding of people around the world. Specific instructional practices using media can help combat negative stereotypes and increase knowledge, tolerance and acceptance of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East. Media literacy education includes activities that involve both critical analysis and media production. In one U.S. school, elementary school children interacted with young adults in Kuwait by creating simple videos and using an online communication tool. Evidence shows that both students and teachers decreased their reliance on cultural stereotypes. However, teachers also demonstrated substantial resistance to exploring contemporary news representations of the U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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