Media literacy

Media Literacy Week at the Hebrew Academy Teaches Students to Think Critically | Education


From its top-notch speakers and fascinating discussion topics to the enthusiastic welcome from the students, the Hebrew Academy’s first-ever Media Literacy Week was a huge success.

‘Media literacy’ is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they send, ‘from traditional media, such as newspapers and television, to today’s media, which includes social media, memes and viral videos. Said Chief Librarian Zehava Cohn, who hosted the event with Librarian Andrea Whaba. “We are graduate students who have been taught the basics of Torah, math, science, history and languages, but we also teach our students how to navigate the world they live in. Media literacy is an important, I would say crucial, aspect of this knowledge acquisition, as our students are involved, interact with, and will inevitably work in a media-literate world.

During the week, all classes heard from the Liberal MP for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather; Hugo Rodrigues, editor-in-chief of Cornwall Standard-Freeholder and representative of the Canadian Association of Journalists (ACJ); Sam Lightstone, IBM’s chief technology officer for AI; and Joel Finkelstein, director and co-founder of the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), an organization that tracks, exposes and fights disinformation and hate on social media.

“We have selected speakers who are experts in their field,” said Wahba. “A politician, a newspaper editor, a leading authority on AI and a scientist who tracks hate online and reports to the highest levels of the US government who would be able to tackle media literacy in relation to their own work and to provide concrete steps for students to take to identify and deal with misinformation and disinformation in the media they consume. Because media can be presented in so many different ways, from reports with flashy headlines to shocking images on social media posts and trendy graphics, it was important to select speakers who could discuss media literacy from all of these angles.

Among a range of topics, presenters discussed fake news and deepfakes, misinformation versus misinformation, conspiracy theories on social media, online hate and anti-Semitism, the role of AI in the manipulation of users’ online experience and the spread of disinformation; and the Canadian government’s efforts to tackle the “infodemic” through institutional control.

“I enjoyed learning how one small aspect of disinformation can lead to horrible conspiracy theories that are not true and can lead to brutal violence,” said Grade 8 student Josh Ouaknine. “I found it interesting to see how groups organize horrific riots online, like the (US Capitol) riots of January 6. I really enjoyed the media literature presentations as they taught me a lot about fake news and disinformation and its consequences.

The program was particularly relevant to contemporary Grade 11 students who are currently writing research papers.

“Some students study the links between the interference and manipulation of foreign state actors in sovereign states, others examine the dangers of disinformation, disinformation and fake news about democratic institutions, and a few examine the role of shared narratives and truth in politics. decisions, ”said teacher Jackie Douek. “This lecture series was timely, informative and important.

– By Avia Engel

– Hebrew Academy

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