Everywhere I go, teachers tell me that their students believe everything they see, read and hear. Today, many students aren’t applying the critical thinking skills we know they need in order to become active, engaged, intelligent citizens and consumers of information.
21st century skills include both critical thinking and media literacy – both part of every state’s teaching standards. Today’s students only know what they see on the screens (TV, computer, motion picture). They don’t have a clue how it got to the screen: the process. Media literacy, among other things, is about helping them appreciate how media are constructed.
When we ‘pull back the curtain’ (on advertising, TV, film, propaganda, etc. ) exposing how they work, and give students opportunities to create media, we help them better understand and appreciate both the ‘languages of media’ and how the media influence and persuade: critical skills in a 21st century world.
– Frank W. Baker
Frank W. Baker is a graduate of the University of Georgia (ABJ, Journalism). He worked in television news from 1977 to 1986, at stations in South Carolina, Maryland and Florida. In 1987, he joined the Orange County (Orlando, FL) Public School System as an administrator in the areas of Instructional TV/Distance Education. While there, he collaborated with both Time Warner Cable and The Orlando Sentinel’s Newspapers-In-Education (NIE) to bring media literacy education to teachers and students in the nation’s 16th largest school district. (See 1995 article from Orlando Sentinel; 1996 article from Cable In The Classroom magazine.) Upon returning to South Carolina in 1997, he co-taught a college level media literacy course for educators and developed a nationally recognized media literacy resource website.
In 1999, he chaired the National Media Literacy Conference (St. Paul MN). That same year, his content analysis of all 50 state’s teaching standards revealed that almost all state’s standards included “elements of media literacy.” He is past president of (NAMLE) the National Association for Media Literacy Education (formerly The Alliance For A Media Literate America) and past vice-president of the National Telemedia Council (NTC).
He is a frequent presenter at schools, districts and conferences across the United States. He has presented at the national conferences of Staff Development For Educators (SDE), the International Reading Association (IRA), The National Middle Schools Assn. (NMSA), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Frank worked in K-12 School Services for the South Carolina Educational Television (PBS network) from February 1998- June 2003.
In June 2007, Frank’s work in media literacy education was recognized by the National PTA and the National Cable TV Assn. with the national “Leaders In Learning” award.
He has written teaching standards and supporting documents (English Language Arts; Visual & Performing Arts) for the SC State Department of Education.
He has been published in Learning & Leading With Technology (ISTE), Education Week, Cable in The Classroom, Telemedium (aka The Journal of Media Literacy), Florida English Journal, Ohio Media Spectrum, Middle Ground: The Magazine of Middle Level Education, Library Media Connection (LMC) and Screen Education (Australia).
He served on the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) “Commission on Media” from 2005-2008. For several years he helped plan the NCTE Annual Film Screening series at the organization’s annual conference. He tweets @fbaker.
He has hosted and participated in webinars for NCTE, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), School Library Journal, and the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE).
His first book, “Coming Distractions: Questioning Movies,” was published by Capstone Press (2007). He contributed a lesson plan to: “Lesson Plans for Creating Media-Rich Classrooms” (NCTE 2007). His second book, “Political Campaigns & Political Advertising: A Media Literacy Guide” was published by Greenwood Press (2009). He authored a chapter on media literacy in the ASCD text “Curriculum 21: Essential Education for A Changing World” (2010). His third book, “Media Literacy In The K-12 Classroom” was published by ISTE (2012). He has also contributed chapters to “Mastering Media Literacy” (Solution Tree Press, 2014). In the fall of 2016, the second (revised) edition of “Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom” was published by ISTE. In 2017, Routledge published “Close Reading The Media- Literacy Lessons and Activities for Every Month of The Year.”
In the Winter of 2009, he traveled to Singapore to consult with the Ministry of Education on incorporating media literacy in the schools and has reviewed their media literacy curriculum materials.
He has been a featured presenter at the South Carolina Educational TV (SC-ETV) summer video production institute.
In October 2013, he keynoted the Michigan Council of Teachers of English annual conference in East Lansing, Michigan.
In November 2013, he received the Jessie McCanse Award (for excellence in media literacy education) from the National Telemedia Council, in Madison WI.
He is a consultant to the Writing Improvement Network, and The News Literacy Project, and served on the board of the Palmetto State Arts Educators organization (formerly the SC Alliance for Arts Education).
In March 2014, he worked with teachers and students at the American School of Bombay (India) and delivered a media literacy lecture at one university and gave the keynote address at an international media literacy conference.
Frank is proud of his most recent work with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) in Los Angeles conducting film/media literacy workshops with LAUSD area teachers and students.
In May 2016, he helped craft the new Position Statement on Media Literacy for the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).
In 2018, he was interviewed and featured in Robel Films documentary “For The Love of Food.”
He is the author of “How Classroom Media Literacy Could Save the World”- a chapter in the forthcoming “Masters of Media: Controversies and Solutions” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020)
As an avid nature photographer, his bird photographs have been published by the North American Nature Photographer’s Association; in “Wild South Carolina” (Hub City Press); on the Instagram and Facebook sites of the Audubon Society of SC; in The Columbia Star newspaper, the Gills Creek Watershed Association’s 2016 & 2017 calendars, the Spring 2016 issue of Naturally Kiawah (published by the Kiawah Nature Conservancy), and the Facebook pages of the City of Columbia Parks & Recreation Department as well as the Colleton River Club (Bluffton SC).
Currently, he is an educational consultant.
- I wrote the teacher guide for the “Cut Costume & Cinema” exhibition at the Columbia Museum of Art (November 2016)
- I was interviewed for BlogTalkRadio’s Young Media Critics program, July 1, 2014
- I contributed a visual literacy activity to the “Holocaust Remembered” newspaper supplement, The State, Sunday April 13, 2014
- I traveled to Mumbai India in March 2014 to do work with parents, teachers and students at the American School of Bombay and to deliver lectures at Chitkara University and Kurukshetra University.
- I was one of the co-recipients of the 2013 Jessie McCanse Media Literacy Award, from NTC
- I hosted two webinars in the fall of 2012 for the National Council of Teachers of English.
- I have consulted and reviewed a series of books on media/technology for Capstone Press.
- I became a featured contributor to USA Today’s Teacher’s Lounge web site in February 2012
- I was a contributor to the “Praeger Handbook of Media Literacy” (published by ABC-CLIO, edited by Art Silverblatt)
- I hosted a webinar on media and visual literacy for ISTE on January 19, 2012.
- I was interviewed for, and quoted in, the Spring 2011 study Report on “The Future of Children’s Television Programming”
- Commentary: Why Core Standards Must Embrace Media and Digital Literacies, co-authored with Richard Beach, published in Education Week June 21, 2011
- In May 2011, I joined the ABC (Arts in Basic Curriculum Project) Arts and Literacy Task Force
- I was accepted as an Artist-in-Residence by the SC Arts Commission. (Roster #3137)
- I hosted the webinar, Media Literacy: The 21st Century Critical Thinking Skills All Students Need, on February 9 2011 for the Assn of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
- I authored a visual literacy curriculum for the “Who Shot Rock n Roll” photo exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art (February 2011)
- In September 2010- I began contributing to the SC Council of Social Studies newsletter.
- I authored a media arts/media literacy support document for the revised SC SDoE VPA Standards.
- I assisted the Federal Trade Commission in correlating its Admongo (ad literacy) curriculum to state teaching standards.
- In July 2010, I reviewed and contributed to a new media literacy curriculum for schools in Singapore.
- In February 2010, I was one of the presenting authors at the 2010 SC Book Festival in Columbia SC
- In November, I traveled to Singapore to conduct several presentations and workshops.
- In August 2009, I joined a team of educators drafting Media Arts standards which will be incorporated into the SC State Department of Education’s Visual & Performing Arts curriculum.
- July 2009: I contributed to the Newstrust’s newly released “news literacy” guide
- In Spring ’09, I contributed to the SCDE’s ELA Resources Wiki project; joined the board of the Columbia Film Society.
- In August ’08, the SC State Department of Education (SCDE) published the support document I authored on “Nonprint Source” resources.
- I authored: “The Future According to Pixar: a Wall E Study Guide” (Issue #51, Spring 2008 , AUSTRALIAN SCREEN EDUCATION)
- In July 2008, I created a podcast about politics and the media, for NCTE’s new Pathways to 21st Century Literacies curriculum.
- I also wrote a viewer’s guide for the national PBS broadcast of “Documenting The Face of America.” (original airdate: August 18, 2008)
- In June 2008, I joined the education advisory committee for The News Literacy Project.
- In April 2008, I was interviewed for: “Why We Smoke”, a documentary produced by University of SC media arts students.
- October 2007, I began blogging for the NCTE Assembly on Media Arts & Commission on Media.
- In March 2007, I was named a finalist in the Cable television industry’s national “Leaders in Learning Award” in the media literacy category.
- In February 2007, I joined the National Council of Teachers of English consultants.
- In January 2007, co-taught “Technology & Learning In The 21st Century,” –a pilot information/media literacy course, with SDE Library Media specialist Martha Alewine.
- In September 2006, I agreed to serve on the National Advisory Council (NAC) for the University of South Carolina’s School of Library & Information Sciences (SLIS), and donated a large number of media texts for loan to educators.
- In August 2006, I began contributing to the South Carolina Assn of School Librarians newsletter Media Messenger.
- In the fall 2005, I accepted a three year term to the National Council of Teachers of English’s Commission on Media.
- In May 2005, I began contributing a regular column to the S.C. State Department of Education’s Literacy Links e-newsletter.
- In March 2005, I was named a finalist in the Cable television industry’s national “Leaders in Learning Award” in the media literacy category.
- I agreed to serve on the advisory panel for CavPlex, the new magnet convergence/media program, starting at Richland Northeast High School (Columbia SC) during the 2005-2006 school year.
- In July & September 2004, I participated in the SC State Department of Education’s English/Language Arts curriculum writing team, which elaborated on the Communication: Viewing standards created in 2002.
- January 2004 issue of Cable In the Classroom’s ACCESS LEARNING magazine features several quotes from me.
- In May 2003, I was the United States representative on an international panel on media education and the
news media at the annual Association of Media, Technology and Education in Canada (AMTEC) conference in Montreal.
- In July 2002, I received a fellowship to participate in the 6th annual Harvard Media and American Democracy Institute in Boston.
- In 2001, I joined the board of the National Telemedia Council, the nation’s oldest continuously operating media literacy organization, and served as webmaster until 2004.
- In the summer of 2000, I was a reviewer for the Cable TV Industry produced curriculum “View Smart to Vote Smart”
- In June 2000, I received a fellowship to participate in the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s 5th Annual Conference on Children and the Media in Washington DC.
- In 2000, I was elected President of PME as it transitioned into a new organization: The Alliance For A Media Literate America (AMLA).
- In 1999, as Vice-President of the Partnership for Media Education (PME), I chaired the National Media Education Conference (NMEC) in St. Paul, Minnesota.
- In Fall 1999, I co-taught with Dr. Johnson a “Media Literacy For Teachers,” (EDUC R635) graduate level course at the University of South Carolina.
- In 1998, I collaborated with the late Dr. Peter N Johnson (USC School of Medicine) to create The Media Literacy Clearinghouse web site a collection of articles, background and lesson plans designed to assist K-12 educators and parents in understanding the role of media, creating an awareness of the importance of media literacy; and ensuring that educators know where it fits in their state’s standards.
- Since returning to South Carolina in 1997, I have been a frequent presenter on the topic of media literacy. I served on the Governor’s Maternal Infant Child Health Council (MICH) Substance Abuse committee from 1998-2001. I have presented at the SC Prevention Professionals Conference; SC Public Health Conference; SC Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services’ Prevention 101 training; South Carolina Department of Education’s Safe Schools Conference, among many others.
- In October 1996, I was interviewed for the national PBS teleconference/documentary ” Media Literacy: The New Basic,” part of the On Television Project series. (view clip here)
- In 1996, I was awarded “Outstanding Achievement by an Individual in K-12 Education” by the United States Distance Learning Association.