Reviews | To recognize misinformation in the media, teach a generation while they are young

Marcus Stallworth, one of the founders of the social worker group who taught an elective course called ‘Social Media: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ at the University of Bridgeport, saw how media affected students. “Social media – anyone can say anything,” he told them. He also asks them to consider who is disseminating the information and what their intention might be. For example, are the posts from an official source like the Governor or a potential scammer?

After coming into contact with Media Literacy Now, social workers realized that the state’s education policies could have a wider impact. Qur-an Webb, a member of Welcome 2 Reality who saw that ordinary citizens can influence lawmakers, concluded that “these are the people we vote for – they should meet us.

There is no quick fix to disarm disinformation. But state media literacy policies typically include early stages, such as creating expert committees 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. At Andover High School, Massachusetts, Mary Robb taught the subject for 19 years. As part of Media Literacy Now’s plea, she and her students testified at a hearing at Massachusetts State House in 2013.

Ms. Robb now includes media literacy in civic education classes, where students can analyze war propaganda and assess the credibility of websites. “’Fake news‘ is not news you don’t agree with,” she stressed.

At Swampscott High School in Massachusetts, Tom Reid taught media literacy for 15 years and testified at State House. He stressed that classes should focus on critical thinking, rather than being “too focused on just trying to get students to reduce their screen time.”


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