Children have difficulty determining whether a news story is fake; less than half (44 percent) of children agree that they can tell fake news stories from real ones.- Common Sense.
The internet has open learners to more information than they can sift knowledge out of. Almost everywhere you go, you’re bombarded with people’s creatives, thoughts, and opinions. Netflix, YouTube, social media channels and Google indexed articles are increasing to provide us with information.
Common Sense Education defines media literacy as the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and communicate using the information in all forms. This understanding will help you properly manage facts by asking the “Who, What, Why, Whom, When and How” questions.
As fake news and misinformation fly around to spite hate and crisis, every right-thinking citizen should learn to identify what’s wrong from right in any information. Since fake news is quick to go viral, it’s a must you know how to spot them.
According to the BBC, the first news source when using a smartphone in the UK is news websites (48%) and social media (48%) in the US.
Now that everyone has the news on their fingertips, it is important to educate students on how to verify the information and recognize individual journalist’s point of view. This will encourage them to think critically and help form their reading culture. They will also be able to differentiate facts from mere marketing plots.
In this post, I want to share with you how to easily integrate media literacy into your classroom.
1. Evaluate a media
Unlike in the past, social media has made contributions easier. Anybody can literally communicate his opinion without a fact check. This influx of unsubstantial news has made it difficult to separate credible sources of information from sponsored content.
Teach your students to evaluate the content, particularly news media, by doing so, they understand the concept of bias and the need for proper referencing or reporting. When they evaluate a news media with the question of “who and why”, they become two steps ahead of others who read without such mindset.
You can step up the learning by looking at a similar news story and compare how different sources had broadcast them.
2. Do a fact-check
Tell your student to always ask the question, “where is the evidence?” to any claim that arises from a discussion or they find online.
This will help them start a conversation about how true an event is. They can also take the discussion further by asking if the evidence is verifiable or not.
Teaching them how to fact check will be an additional tool to help them stand out as an intellectual during discussions.
3. Research media sources
There are many online media sources with zero credibility. Not everyone knows how to spot them because they exhibit great designs and well-structured web layout.
Teaching your students how to research media sources will save them from consuming the wrong information.
Let them know that some sites sell advertisements so they generate content to sell a product or promote a personal brand.
Others like the Pew Research, McKinsey or Bloomberg are a recognized authority in business-related news while BBC, CNN, and Aljazeera are credible for international and general news. However, that shouldn’t allow for citing them without adequate mention.
4. Reveal media edits and alterations
Have you ever seen an image of a known person but with a different body or funny looking posture? Some are too good to be true while others just come out so perfect that you have difficulty in the differential.
Magazines and online memes do this a lot. Reveal to your students the possibility of media edits so they don’t communicate images wrongly.
Google reverse image search is a credible tool that has saved media companies from great loss as it time travels back to identify when a particular image appears online.
5. Create a media
Subliminal learning makes knowledge retentive when learners practice constantly. Create a media exercise that fits your learner’s age group and make them practice what they’ve learned.
They could cover the school’s inter-house sport or the end of the year activities. Then analyze their works based on what you’ve taught.
As you can see, media literacy, news literacy or digital literacy, anyone it’s called, is a must for this growing generation, not only because it pushes learners to think critically but also for its fostering of responsible media creation and effective communication.
Now, your learners will be able to identify advertorial or sponsored content, unusual URLs and clickbait as a sign of fake news content, and it will save them from the implications of guilty by association.