Teaching Media Literacy

This collection of resources includes videos, slide decks, and activities that introduce students to various topics related to media literacy and helps them to apply those concepts to their lives.

Introduction

Students are confronted with a steady stream of information, coming from the news, social media, friends and family. Some of this information will be true and accurate, while some may be false, inaccurate, and misleading. In order for students to be educated consumers of information, they must be equipped with media literacy skills. The resources below will help build lessons around effective research skills, identifying and combating false information, and being aware of common issues with how different media sources share information.   

Resources 

  1. Animated videos. 
    1. Sensationalism: This video explores how stories and headlines are often promoted because they’re exciting, sometimes at the expense of accuracy. 
    2. Finding Reliable Sources: This video walks viewers through a number of helpful tips to find and evaluate sources for their accuracy and credibility. 
    3. How Fake News Goes Viral: This video explores how false stories often spread faster than true ones, and gives information about how to combat fake news.
    4. Misleading graphs: This video describes the various ways that graphs and other data can be presented in a way that misleads the audience, and teaches the viewer to notice when data may be inaccurate.  
  2. Media, Fake News, and Conspiracy Theories slide deck: Introduces students to the concepts of fake news and conspiracy theories and includes some discussion questions that help students think further about the topic. This presentation is a great lead-in to the How Fake News Goes Viral video described above, which dives deeper into how and why false stories tend to spread so quickly and are so difficult to combat. 
  3. Echo Chambers slide deck: Echo chambers are “situations in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system and insulated from rebuttal”. This slide deck introduces students to the concept of echo chambers, how to recognize when you’re in one, and reminds students of the importance of seeking diverse perspectives. This is a short presentation, so you can follow it up by diving deeper into confirmation bias, or asking students to investigate their own media consumption habits by choosing a topic and seeing if they can gather diverse perspectives. They could also test out how easy it is to get stuck in an echo chamber by choosing a common controversy and seeing how easy it is to find “evidence” that supports false beliefs. 
  4. Fact checking slide deck: test student’s quick research skills by seeing if they can verify the accuracy of several “facts”. 
  5. Effective online research slide deck: This presentation walks students through the importance of research, how to find credible sources, and verify data and statistics. 
  6. Regulating Social media companies Task Force: This task force asks students to take on the role of Twitter’s board of directors to reevaluate how they monitor content on their site. Students must decide what content will be allowed and what will be banned. 
  7. Design a PSA Task Force: This task force asks students to think about the advantages and disadvantages of social media, then craft a script and deliver a PSA commercial advocating for their stance on the use of social media. 
  8. Practical application: Put the research skills to use by writing an op-ed on a social issue or current event of your choice. Resources and assignment print outs are available here. If you email student articles to [email protected] we will publish them on students4sc.org.
    1. Take it a step further: encourage students to choose topics for their op-eds that specifically address an issue related to the media or media literacy. Here’s an example of a student article about the issue of false balance in the media.   
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