Media literacy

Should media education be a compulsory course in school?

It’s Media Literacy Week, so we’re dedicating Today’s Student Opinion prompt and our Lesson of the Day to the role of disinformation, disinformation and fake news in our society.

Do you see yourself as an informed news consumer? What about your friends? How well do your generation distinguish between trusted information and unreliable information on the Internet? Why?

Do you think the spread of disinformation is a problem? If so, how dangerous do you think it is and why? For example, is it dangerous for you personally? To your family, friends, school or community? To our democracy? To the world in general? If yes, how ?

Should media education be a compulsory course in school?

In “To recognize disinformation in the media, teach a generation while they are young,” Amy Yee writes:

The Instagram post seemed odd to Amulya Panakam, a 16-year-old high school student who lives near Atlanta. In February, a friend showed him a sensational track on his phone who declared,Kim Jong Un Personally Kills Soldiers Who Have Covid-19! Of course, the news was not real. “I was immediately suspicious,” Ms. Panakam said. She searched online and found no media reporting the fake story. But his friends had already shared it on social networks.

Ms. Panakam was surprised at how often students “crudely manipulate and spread disinformation without knowing it,” she said. Yet media literacy is not part of his school’s curriculum.

So, Ms. Panakam contacted Media Literacy Now, a Boston-based nonprofit that works to disseminate media literacy. With his help, she wrote to her state and local representatives to discuss the introduction of media literacy in schools.

The subject was hardly new. Long before the Internet, many researchers analyzed the influence of the media on society. In recent decades, colleges have offered media studies to examine advertising, propaganda, prejudice, the way people are portrayed in movies, etc.

But in the digital age, media literacy also includes understanding how websites profit from fictitious information, how algorithms and bots work, and how to examine suspicious websites that mimic real ones. media.

She keeps :

Online disinformation may seem like an incurable virus, but social media companies, policymakers and nonprofits are starting to tackle the problem more directly. In March, major internet companies like Facebook and Twitter began removing deceptive Covid-19 posts. And many policymakers are pushing for stricter regulations around harmful content.

However, what needs even more attention is further and earlier education. Teaching media skills to adolescents and younger students can protect readers and listeners from misinformation, just as teaching good hygiene reduces disease.

And she writes:

There is no quick fix to disarm disinformation. But state media education policies typically include early stages, such as creating expert committees to advise education departments or develop media education standards. This is followed by the recommendation of study programs, the training of educators, the funding of school media centers and specialists, and monitoring and evaluation.

States establish guidelines for education departments, although local districts often have final control over programs.

Even without legislation, teachers can integrate media education concepts into existing classrooms or offer elective courses.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

  • Have you ever been the victim of misinformation or fake news? Have you ever spilled it unintentionally? What happened? Can disinformation have real-world consequences? Give examples.

  • How many viral posts – whether articles, videos, or photographs – do you click each week? How much, on average, do you share on social networks? How often do you verify that what you are sharing or commenting is real? How do you go about finding out? How much do you care that a supposedly real item actually is?

  • Where do you get your news – from TV, social media, newspapers, radio, videos, websites, podcasts, apps, word of mouth? How reliable do you think this content is? Why? Which media sources do you trust the most? What are you wary of? Why? Do you see yourself as an informed news consumer? Do you think you can tell when something is “fake news”? How well do you think you can distinguish between fact, fiction, opinion and propaganda?

  • Does your school teach media literacy? Do your teachers integrate media literacy courses into your compulsory courses, or are there elective courses that do? Do you think some of these efforts are effective? What, if anything, has been helpful to you in strengthening your media literacy skills or news literacy?

  • Should all schools provide some form of media education? Should media education be a compulsory course in school? Why or why not?

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Students 13 and over in the US and UK, and 16 and over elsewhere, are welcome to comment. All comments are moderated by The Learning Network staff, but remember that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

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