Media literacy

‘Orange Seeds of Civility’ helps teach media literacy to middle school students


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Six members of the Syracuse University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America wanted middle school students to learn more about media literacy. So they created a Canva presentation.

On slide 22, public relations majors introduced their acronym to help identify reliable news sources: CRAAP, or timeliness, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose. On another slide, the team asked students to spot fake news by choosing whether or not an article about Kanye West winning the 2020 election — and being the first non-lizard person to be president — was legitimate.

“Well, last time I checked, lizard people don’t exist,” said one student.

In addition to teaching children about media literacy through the team’s Orange Seeds of Civility program, the students also participated as investigative samples for the Bateman Case Study Competition. PRSA. The competition challenges public relations students nationwide with the creation of a campaign for an assigned client each year.

For the 2021 competition, PRSSA tasked students with promoting civility in public discourse. After the teams submit their case studies on Monday, the pros will judge each campaign and announce three finalists in April. As children grow up in the digital age, Orange Seeds of Civility has chosen to create its civility campaign on media literacy and middle school students.

“Having a college demographic for the campaign will be a little different from everyone else,” said Orange Seeds of Civility member and junior DJ SU Davis. “By not trying to fix adults, we felt like trying to educate a younger group would be a bit more effective in addressing these current issues.”

SU’s PRSSA chapter first recruited members for its two 2021 campaigns last fall. Chapter Co-Chair Samantha Cooper helped choose the two League teams through a bidding process. Cooper said she was looking for contestants who had a strong passion and unique perspective on this year’s topic.

The Orange Seeds of Civility team met in October. After attending a few Bateman seminars, one of the group’s members, Neeve Prendergast, had the idea of ​​focusing the group’s case study on media literacy. While researching current programs, the team hopped on a Zoom call one day in November, identifying the Syracuse area as the location to run the campaign with the help of their professional advisor, Kristy Smorol.

“This campaign is a very noble topic because it’s about instability and countering disinformation and the role media literacy plays in that,” Smorol said. “Reaching out to local schools and working with children means helping those children learn the basics of media literacy.

Over the winter break, Kate Reynolds, an SU junior and one of the group members, emailed more than 10 middle New York colleges. The team eventually made contact with three different schools.

For Nick Luppino, a social studies teacher at Lincoln Middle School on James Street, Orange Seeds of Civility reached out at the perfect time. The 2020 election and media literacy were topics her seventh and eighth graders focused on in class this school year, and the League Student Program was another way for them to learn about it. more on the subject.

The team began creating their presentation in February and eventually presented their program to middle schoolers throughout the day on March 5. presentation, asking questions and adding their own opinions. And although it was only scheduled for a period just before noon, the program lasted 15 minutes.

At the beginning and end of each section, the team sent out a Google Form survey to the students, the information from which will be used as data for the case study. Students completed true and false, multiple-choice and open-response questions, and one of them asked them about the importance of media literacy.

“Media literacy basically helps us understand the world around us and this time in our history,” wrote one student.

“It’s important because you have to learn the online world,” said another.

Even though the six were scheduling a contest, these types of answers were exactly what they were looking for.

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