Essential Questions: What does it mean to be literate?


At no time in history has it ever been easier to communicate, collaborate and broadcast information. This change is having a profound effect on the extent to which the individuals can be aware of issues and news outside of their daily sphere. Each hour information about the environment, human conflict and global change is broadcast across many different mediums. Those with access to these powerful communication tools should also have an understanding of how they can be used to promote and create positive change in the community, country, world that they live in. While these themes come up in social studies, science and many other core curricula we felt that overlap from that information and technology side would help strengthen the message that we are all "global citizens" and responsible the health of our global social, political and natural environments.

  • How am I responsible for the communities that I am a part of?

  • How am I responsible for the environment around me?

Enduring Understandings

  • The communication tools that exist today are powerful mediums to help spread positive change and global awareness.

Essential Question : What are the elements of effective communication?


The variety of ways information and media come into and out of our lives is significantly more diverse today than it was even 5 years ago. Today we are able to access and interact with information on so many different levels and senses that it is no longer just a matter of "putting your ideas down on paper". How we organize our ideas and present information is now just as important as the content itself. Students need to be taught that when communicating a new "visual literacy" exists and there are best practices that if followed can lead to more effective communication.

The curriculum of design and attention to aesthetic has always been the property of the visual arts, however as so much our media is now consumed and created electronically a new set of visual literacies have emerged. As students move between mediums they need to be aware of how their audience interact with that medium and how to take advantage of this to strengthen their message or purpose for communication.

The great myth is that these “digital natives” know more about this new information environment than we do. But here’s the reality: they may be experts in entertaining themselves online, but they know almost nothing about educating themselves online. - Michael Wesch, Professor of Digital Ethnography, Kansas State University

Enduring Understandings

  • Design and layout of information are important elements of effective communication.
  • Different mediums of communication have their own sets of best practices and tools.
  • Understanding your audience and the purpose behind your communication are important elements of effective communication.
  • Different information mediums require different strategies when organizing information and communicating effectively.
  • Reflection is a important component to developing communication skills.