Media literacy

Vermont-based nonprofit develops dedicated media literacy classroom

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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) – With constant information circulating on social media, it can be difficult to navigate between what’s real, what’s fake and what’s misleading.

Technology for Tomorrow is on a mission to provide technology training and more online opportunities to underserved communities. Their newest addition is a comprehensive media literacy course.

“How can we take what we have taught at ASU to our students and get it out there to as many people as possible,” said Kristy Roschke, executive director of the News Co/Lab at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Arizona. State University.

She says media literacy is crucial to navigating information in the 21st century.

“I see media literacy as basic literacy like reading and writing,” Roschke said.

She and her colleagues have created an online course to help the general public navigate their news consumption. The lens was simple to attach.

“Going from feeling very overwhelmed and like you can’t do anything, to feeling like, ‘Oh, OK, I got it,'” Roschke said.

But difficult to achieve, so they started partnering with organizations to reach their audience.

“So being able to partner with other groups allows them to take the content we’ve created and apply it in different formats,” Roschke said.

“We work with them, and then we, Technology for Tomorrow, turn that course into a traditional, instructor-led type of course,” said Bjorn Norstrom, program manager at Technology for Tomorrow in Williston.

Their nonprofit aims to provide skills-based technology assistance to underserved communities, such as the elderly.

“What we’re trying to do is introduce media literacy principles,” Norstrom said.

These are things like spotting misinformation, checking sources, and peeking behind the curtain at how the media works. Norstrom says that with the right guidance, the value is undeniable.

“It’s a lot of things what can I do when I get these links on social media before hitting that share button and spreading it? What can I do to make sure the information is credible and reliable instead of just clicking and streaming something that might not be true,” Norstrom said.

Norstrom says that with information constantly being fed to you, whether you seek it out or not, having the tools to navigate an ever-changing media landscape helps not only you but everyone else.

“What can I do to make sure the information is credible and reliable instead of just clicking and spreading something that might not be true,” Norstrom said.

Currently, they are piloting the program to fix the issues as they prepare to deliver it to their target audience.

They are also considering bringing in Arizona State to do research while the course is taught.

Click here for a link to the abbreviated version of the program.

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