Media literacy

Education Horizon Grant to Empower Students Through Social Media Literacy

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Associate Professor Susan Hopkins with Research Assistants Luke Bayliss and Tarra Excell. PHOTO: UniSQ

Gen Z and Alpha are growing up in the days of Tik Tok and Snapchat, constantly exposed to a rapid flow of information via social media, and not everything is nice or true.

A multidisciplinary research team from the University of Southern Queensland has been awarded an $82,000 Education Horizon grant to explore ways to empower young people to make sense of fact and fiction online.

Associate Professor Susan Hopkins, who works at the university’s Springfield campus and a world-class expert in digital pedagogies, youth studies, gender and media, will lead the group of qualified researchers in the fields of criminology. , psychology, counseling and education.

“Given the immense presence of social media in modern society, safe browsing has become a key literacy requirement,” said Associate Professor Hopkins.

“Our research will examine how social media literacy training can potentially be integrated into classroom pedagogies to help high school learners become active, informed, and critical agents in a digital world.”

Associate Professor Hopkins said young people are increasingly forming individual and social identities through largely unregulated discourse on social media platforms.

“These conversations with friends and strangers often revolve around sociocultural issues such as mental health, gender (non)conformity and equity, and discrimination,” she said.

“However, social media is awash with misinformation, misinformation, misinformation, conspiracy theories, hate speech and other potential online harm leading to learning disruption.

“This project aims to address these issues by designing an intersectional pedagogy conceptual framework for instilling critical knowledge about social media.

“The project will also provide a toolkit of practice-oriented strategies and resources illustrating the application of the framework through interdisciplinary case studies.”

The research team includes Dr Annette Brömdal (gender, sexuality and education), Dr Lauren Humby (criminology), Dr Naomi Ryan (marginalized youth, career development and well-being) and Professor Jill Lawrence (pedagogy of transition and cross-cultural communication).

The Queensland Government’s Education Horizon Grants program funds high-quality local research aligned with government priorities and Department of Education priority research themes.

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