upper waypoint

“This Process is Fun”: Why 4 PBS Certified Educators Love Teaching Media Literacy

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

Photos of 4 certified educators. From left to right: Jamie Gregory, Keats Jennelly, Ken Kusactay, Peg Billing
Four PBS certified media literacy educators. (Copyright © 2022 KQED Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Most teachers understand that media literacy is important to integrate into their classrooms. But the reality is that with all that teachers are going through right now, it can feel like a burden that they don’t have the time or energy for. So when we asked PBS certified media literacy educators what motivates them, it’s interesting that they consistently mentioned the joy and satisfaction they get from teaching students how to analyze, evaluate and create effective media. In short, teaching media literacy is fun.

Here’s some insights from four educators who recently became PBS media literacy certified.

Jamie Gregory

Headshot of Jamie Gregory

Jamie Gregory is a high school librarian and journalism teacher at Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville, SC.

“I love that media instruction and creation is so relevant to students’ lives. Sometimes education, particularly in upper grades, focuses on content that is esoteric or abstract, which is great and necessary. But with media literacy instruction, students can focus on skills and concepts which they encounter all day long, every day. Media educators focus on how to help students interpret what they are naturally doing, which is consuming media, but in a smarter, safer and more beneficial way.”

Jamie received the 2021 Media Literacy Teacher Award from the National Association for Media Literacy Education. We’re so proud of you!

Keats Kennelly
Headshot of Keats Kennelly

Keats Kennelly teaches English, research methods, and science at Whittle School & Studios in Washington, D.C.

“We are now firmly in the Information Age. Now that we have so much information awaiting us at our fingertips, I truly enjoy being able to show students how to make media to break down and communicate that information in a creative and engaging way. Gone is the PowerPoint of yesteryear. As we progress into the future, media literacy will become as vital as literacy itself.”

Check out Keat’s wonderful website to learn more about their impressive work and thoughts on differentiated learning, classroom collaboration and information literacy.


Ken Kusactay
Headshot of Ken Kusactay

Ken Kusactay is an ELD and journalism teacher at John Henry High School in Richmond, CA.

“I taught AP Language and Composition before switching over to media literacy and love how much overlap there is between the two. Media literacy is basically teaching rhetoric in a variety of different mediums; students really can apply their learning of rhetoric and analyze how creators make different media choices in the same way an author does in the crafting of a text. Given that students are more savvy and accustomed to media and technology, they understand concepts that were maybe too abstract before and can apply their knowledge of media rhetoric in the creation and production of their own media content.”

Ken recommends Blooket, an online tool to gamify your teaching to more deeply engage and excite your students with powerful, interactive media.

Peg A. Billing
Headshot of Peg Billing

Peg Billing is a library media specialist at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua, WI.

“What excites me most about teaching students about media literacy is that it builds creative thinking skills and challenges their thinking. Students can find plenty of information on many subjects on the Internet, however can they analyze, evaluate and discern misinformation and get to the fact of the matter? This process is fun to watch students as they discover this.”

Peg recommends this video and lesson plan on “the Bystander Effect” that is a good entry point for talking to students about social media and being a responsible digital citizen.

Want to get in on the fun? Check out our free online courses on KQED Teach and the PBS Media Literacy Educator Certification by KQED. You can start earning PBS micro-credentials today!

lower waypoint
next waypoint