Project SMARTArt: A Case Study in Elementary School Media Literacy and Arts Education



A Road to Follow: Methods, Structure and Tools for Replication

Project SMARTArt Students using Media, Art, Reading, and Technology) represents a significant break-through for implementing media literacy programs within schools. A federal demonstration grant sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts led the Center for Media Literacy, the Music Center Education Division, AnimAction, Inc. and Los Angeles Unified School District's Leo Politi Elementary school to a new understanding of media literacy, and to a new guiding principle for implementation programs: that media literacy and the arts inform one another as disciplines for teaching and learning, and that these disciplines can be integrated with all other academic content areas, while meeting state education standards.

With ongoing professional development and with appropriate tools, teachers are able to internalize information process skills. Once they understand these process skills, they are able to apply them to any media content and to transform their teaching, without the need for a "cookbook" approach, reliant only on textbooks. Instead, teachers can use fresh media content while teaching to state standards. With a deeper understanding of a media literacy framework, teachers help their students to learn in a new way, preparing students with lifelong learning skills of critical analysis and self-expression applicable in a global media culture.

Project SMARTArt yielded steps forward both in teaching practices and in theory that impacts the fields of media literacy and the arts.


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by Tessa Jolls and Denise Grande. 
As featured in Arts Education Policy Review, Volume 107, Number 1, Sept/Oct, 2005, pp. 25-30