When did your organization launch and why?
CyberWise was founded in 2011 by Diana Graber and Cynthia Lieberman after they received M.A. degrees in Media Psychology and Social Change, a pioneering field that focuses on how human behavior is affected by media. They decided to put their academic work and entertainment/media experience to work to benefit parents and kids.
What does your organization do? What are its main goals? Main projects?
Today CyberWise is the companion site to Cyber Civics, a comprehensive middle school digital literacy program taught in 48 U.S. states and internationally. The organization’s main objective is to help as many students as possible get digital literacy lessons in school. CyberWise supporst that objective by offering the CyberWise website, newsletter, and free online courses for parents and teachers, so they can learn digital literacy skills too!
What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?
The most unique thing about CyberWise is that it started out focusing on adults; however, they quickly learned how busy parents and teachers are, and that if they really wanted to make an impact, they needed to shift the organization’s focus to kids. What makes the curriculum unique is that it is so comprehensive — it covers digital citizenship, information literacy, and media literacy over three years — and is taught sequentially so that the entirety of digital literacy makes sense to kids.
What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?
One thing CyberWise is currently working on and is very excited about is a collaboration with AT&T’s new “The Achievery” project. Learn more about that here.
What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?
Media literacy is central to everything done, both through CyberWise and Cyber Civics. In addition to the free resources offered for adults on the CyberWise website, the curriculum includes send-home parent letters with activities that families can do together at home that focus on developing media literacy skills.
Why is media literacy important to your organization?
The ability to critically evaluate, use, and make media is probably one of the most important skills needed today. CyberWise have a Learning Hub on the website devoted to the topic here.
Anything else you want our readers to know about your organization, your mission, or your staff?
The organization has so many free resources for adults on CyberWise, including Learning Hubs on a variety of tech topics. They offer monthly “CyberWise Chats” (a webinar and podcast) on tech topics. They also offer the “Parents Guide to What Kids Watch” podcast and free courses for adults. In addition, CyberWise’s founder wrote “Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology” and there is free discussion guide that accompanies the book. CyberWise also offers parent and community presentations.
The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.