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Digital Empathy as Video Production
Digital Empathy as a Research Method

Empathy for the digital age: Using  video production to enhance  social, emotional, and cognitive skills

Friesem, Y. (2015)


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Digital empathy is a new concept aiming to highlight social emotional, and cognitive practices in a collaborative video production as part of a digital and media literacy class. The structured five stages of video production (screenplay writing, pre-production, production, post-production, and screening) enhance six distinctive empathy phenomena (empathic concern, cognitive empathy, projective empathy, affective empathy, psychological empathy, and aesthetic empathy). Together as the process comes to an end, most of the students experience higher levels of empathy. This book chapter describes the theoretical background and provides the connection between each stage of production and the empathy phenomena. Digital empathy as a new concept calls for further research to explore these connections and better understand how to foster social, emotional, and cognitive skills with digital devices in the classroom.

Developing digital empathy: A holistic approach to media literacy research methods

Friesem, Y. (2016)


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In the Digital Age, when technology offers many solutions and distractions at the same time, we should use media literacy research to address these advantages and challenges through a holistic approach. This chapter introduces digital empathy as a holistic framework combining empathic design and empathic listening to bridge the traditional protectionist and empowerment approaches in media literacy research. Digital Empathy is a mixed methods approach that has been developed through a longitudinal study. It is an inclusive model that addresses the participants and the researcher's cognitive, emotional, and social skills through empathic design and empathic listening. Using a longitudinal case study of a month-long media literacy summer class with underprivileged high school students, the chapter describes digital empathy, not only as a pedagogical approach, but also as a holistic research method that will advance media literacy scholarship.

A Media Literacy PD at an Elementary School Supporting Teachers
A Media Literacy Class at the Library Supporting Foster Youth

Let it go: A journey toward elementary student-driven media production aligned with the CCSS

Friesem, Y., Jennings, B. & Prest, C. (2017)


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This case study introduces a two-year process in which a fourth grade teacher working with a library media specialist, experienced a successful integration of digital and media literacy practices. During that time the fourth grade teacher adopted a less protectionist approach by having her students explore different multimedia production projects to enhance their learning in social studies. This book chapter introduces the process of both the fourth grade teacher as she explored new instructional strategies to incorporate media production and the Common Core State Standards and the library media specialist as a support team member. The standards index and its media production application can help educators integrate media production into their classrooms. This case study can help promote media production activities as they foster 21st century skills in elementary students.

The Curriculum Materials Library as a Hub of Resources, Literacy Practices, and Collaboration: Expanding the Role of the Library to Support Foster Youth. 

Friesem, Y., Greene, K. & Niedbala, M.A. (2016)

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This paper describes a three-year case study of collaboration between a university library, a research lab, and an NGO to provide college courses in digital, media, and information literacies to high school foster youth. The library staff and instructors expanded one another’s literacy knowledge and explored best practices to teach the at-risk students. Data includes self-reflection based on observations and interviews of each other. Using narrative analysis, the team used four variables to showcase their collaboration: (1) vision and relationship, (2) structure, responsibilities, and communication, (3) authority and accountability, and (4) resources and rewards. Students’ achievements reflected an increase in their literacy skills. This was strong evidence for the successful collaboration among the three entities. Each partner contributed by bringing digital, media, and information literacies to students, equipping them with rich skills pertinent in today’s society.

Historic Media Literacy Curriculum From 1972 in the US
Media Production Curriculum as Therapy in Israel

Media Now: A Historical Review of a Media Literacy Curriculum

Friesem, Y., Quaglia-Beltran, D. & Crane, E. (2014)


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The Elizabeth Thoman Archive at the Harrington School of Communication and Media, University of Rhode Island, has the last complete kit of one of the milestones in the early chronology of media literacy, the 1972 Media Now curriculum. This curriculum was the first of its kind, using self-contained lesson modules that were part of a larger series of kits, text references, and accompanying workbook. Its self-directed learning model gave students the opportunity to learn about the media, by doing, responding to, and reflecting on core concepts of media production. Using physical artifacts from the Media Now kit, historical documents, promotional materials, phone interviews with the founders and teachers of the curriculum, the authors were able to trace the development of Media Now from its historical and educational roots of the 1960s, to its full production, distribution, and training out of the facility at the Southwest Iowa Learning Resource Center (SILRC). The historical and educational impetus for creation of what started as a Title III innovation grant of the Elementary and Secondary Educational Act of 1965, matured to be a curriculum that was implemented in 600 schools across the U.S - a testament to both its need and its success. However, as times and politics changed, federal and local government cut funding for Media Now. As we reviewed its original approach to curriculum design and pedagogy, we found that the Media Now story calls for a new examination of the creative materials and techniques used in the 1970s, in light of the current need for media literacy education in and outside of the 21st century digital classroom.

Therapeutic and Empowering Aspects of Visual Literacy Programs in Israeli High Schools

Friesem, J.M. (2009)


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The educational visual literacy programmes in the 21st Century are perceived as an effective pedagogical method of empowering adolescent students, who deal with a flaw of visual information. In particular, the Israeli high-school education system includes 250 classes in which the students learn the diverse aspects of visual

literacy. The creative part of their learning includes a division of the class into small production teams of four or five members. Each team creates a 15 minutes film. Contemporary high school students usually experience alienated digital, virtual and consumerist cultures. In this situation, the educational system is interested not only in acquiring the youth professional cinematic skills, but also in practicing and improving of their social and interpersonal interactions. Their

practical work integrates a creative technological education and an enhanced social interaction between the adolescents. This article analyses the students’ empowerment in different phases of their cinematic project. Notably, these phases are deeply involved with the participants’ own emotions and their group dynamics.My intention is to explore the therapeutic aspects of this creative educational process and to analyze the emotional facets of Visual Literacy programmes in the Israeli educational system.

Media Production Teaches
Civic Engagement

Learning to engage: how positive attitudes about the news, media literacy, and video production contribute to adolescent civic engagement

Hobbs, R., Donnelly, K., Friesem, J. & Moen, M. (2013)


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Many students enroll in video production courses in high school as part of a vocational, career, or technical program. While there has been an explosion of scholarly work in digital literacy in informal settings, less is known about how digital and media literacy competencies are developed through school-based video production courses. This study explores the relationship between civic engagement and the various multimedia instructional practices used in a high school video production course with a single-school convenience sample and an ethnically diverse population of students. Findings reveal that the best predictors of the intent to participate in civic engagement are having positive attitudes about news, current events, reporting, and journalism. Media literacy attitudes and a range of in-classroom learning experiences with video production are also associated with civic engagement.


Holistic Aproach to Media Literacy 

The holistic future of media literacy education 

Friesem, Y. (2014)


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The future of media literacy depends on our understanding of the current and past challenges. I believe media literacy should be more inclusive and go back to its roots to find and foster the human nature in mediated communication. It reminds me, when I asked Douglas Rushkoff (2013) to describe the current and future concepts of media literacy, he responded by saying that “what we’re doing is using the competencies of the print era to describe fluency of the digital era.” If so, what should be the pedagogical approach to developing media literacy in the digital era? In this article, I will try to answer the question of the future of media literacy by connecting it to holistic education.

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