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Abstract

The Photography and Media Literacy Project (PMLP) was an after-school program designed to teach fourth and fifth grade children about the science and art of photography in a Title I school in rural southeast Georgia. Through the completion of a problem-based applied project, we endeavored to further enhance and develop students’ media literacy, critical thinking, and metacognitive skills. The project involved having students consider some aspect of their environment (i.e., a problem from the natural, physical, school or social environment) and develop a media presentation about the topic (e.g., a movie), which included images that they took (with iPods that we provided), as well as a narrative that described their observation, research, argument and/or experience. Through the use of technology and various other media, our purpose was to help these young learners improve their metacognitive planning and monitoring skills, as well as their problem-solving and reasoning ability, all foundational skills critical for success in high stakes assessments such as Georgia Milestone Assessment. Although no significant differences were found in pre-posttest assessments, we believe that with minor modifications, this type of program shows promise in its potential for boosting participants’ metacognitive functioning and other skills related to critical evaluation of information, which have been found to enhance learning outcomes.

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