Cultivating Community & Collaboration via Digital Media Literacy: A Project-based Approach to ENL1W


Alexandra (Xan) Woods

[email protected]


X handle: @xanwoods


Amanda Potts

[email protected]


X handle: @ahpotts


The OTF Connects webinar entitled “Cultivating Community and Collaboration via Digital Media Literacy” was presented by Zan Woods and Amanda Potts. The session focused on integrating digital media literacy into the curriculum to enhance student engagement, collaboration, and community building through project-based learning.


Key points discussed include:

  • Emphasizing the role of digital media projects in fostering literacy and supporting cross-curricular planning.
  • Shared classroom experiences, particularly incorporating students’ personal experiences with media to explore and express their identities.
  • The session provided practical teaching strategies that leverage digital media for educational outcomes, such as using metacognitive tools for student reflection and engagement.
  • The use of storytelling and structured interviews (inspired by platforms like StoryCorps and Humans of New York) was highlighted as a method for students to explore and present diverse personal narratives.
  • Discussions included the challenges and opportunities of digital media in the classroom, addressing concerns about content appropriateness, student privacy, and the ethical use of technology.

Key Concepts

Digital Media Literacy

  • Integration of digital media into literacy and other curricular areas
  • Use of social media platforms (Instagram) for educational projects
  • Ethical considerations in digital content creation (e.g., consent and privacy in student projects)

Pedagogical Strategies

  • Project-based learning approaches that include students creating digital content
  • Use of storytelling and interviews to enhance empathy and self-expression
  • Metacognitive tools to aid in reflection and self-assessment of learning

Equity and Inclusion

  • Emphasis on matching educational content to student’s personal experiences and identities
  • Addressing equity through personalized learning and attention to diverse learning needs
  • Use of inclusive content that respects and represents diverse backgrounds

Probing Questions

  1. How can educators balance the need for personalization in digital media projects with the requirements of a standardized curriculum?
  2. In what ways might the ethical considerations highlighted (e.g., consent for sharing personal stories) impact the openness of students to participate in such projects?
  3. How do the presenters measure the impact of these digital media literacy projects on student learning and engagement over time?
  4. Could the emphasis on digital storytelling and personal narrative divert attention from other critical literacy and learning skills? How should educators address this?
  5. Given the varied reactions to digital media content, how can teachers ensure that the educational use of platforms like Instagram remains relevant and effective for all students?

Mentioned Online Resources