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Media literacy helps students discern fake news

October 7, 2021Brianna Owens

Some days as a teacher, I feel like I’m at my best when I am faking it.  We have all been there, piles of papers to grade, the iPads not charged, and students lined up with critical “emergencies” that usually involve someone cutting in line. On top of that, we deal with administration adding that schools now need to teach about “fake” news and media literacy in addition to the already long list of curriculum requirements.

I am confident my students can discern real from “fake” news as a result of the Nearpod lessons that build their media literacy skills. The worry of whether my students comprehend “fake” or real news is not one I have on my list.

How do you fit in lessons on Media Literacy to an already full school day?

Math, science, history, lunch; the subject list goes on and on. Thankfully, in Finland, we are working towards mixed curricular teaching and removing “subject” time. When it is time for a lesson, students complete a lesson about that topic.  There is a constant effort to keep my class in the 21st century and to make sure my students don’t start snoring during class. I use a lot of Nearpod lessons in my instruction. I use Nearpod for tons of subjects, but never have I told my students “now we will have our digital literacy subject time.” Digital literacy is a way of teaching. We should use digital resources to teach students and expose them to various types of resources including both print and digital resources.

What is Media Literacy?

Literacy is as the ability to read and write but media literacy takes this much further. The Media Literacy Project explains that media literacy is the most essential 21st-century skill. Media literacy goes one step further than looking at different types of content, it involves analyzing, evaluating and even creating media content. In a classroom this might look like students sending out tweets, analyzing news articles or even creating their own blogs.    

How do you teach Media Literacy?

The key to good reading is reading a lot of books. The success of media literacy comes from exposure to many different sources and types of resources.  Too often, classrooms are filled with students typing or reading articles. Some teachers consider this media literacy, but one important element is forgotten. Media literacy is all about various types of text. Videos, blogs, interactive experiences, tweets, and web pages students will cover the essentials of media literacy.  One of the most difficult parts of any teaching environment is trying to fit all the content into the day.

A successful tool that incorporates all the elements of media literacy into one lesson, one package, and is a click and a code away is Nearpod.

Equip students with strategies to evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility, and relevance of informational sources. Click To Tweet

How does Nearpod fit into Media Literacy?

There are many features and different output and inputs available on Nearpod lessons. It is easy for students to gain exposure and knowledge to various types of sources, media content, and print content all within one lesson.  These sources are embedded into any content for your lessons. A science lesson on force, for example, might have a website, live tweets added to the lesson, a youtube video on force, a simulation, and an article that students are filling in the blanks to complete. Without realizing it, students are learning science but also gaining vital skills in media literacy.

Nearpod Media Literacy Solutions

After you have been reading and exposed to different types of articles, your brain learns that some things are not quite normal.

Multiple examples of correct news sources are available as part of Nearpod lessons. Students learn to differentiate and connect the clues to fake news sources. They also learn what accurate news sources should look like and when another source does not quite fit the mold

Many schools have globally implemented required lessons into their curriculum. I honestly do not think this is enough. Teaching a few lessons about digital literacy is not going to fix the problem of student’s inability to differentiate fake and accurate news sources.

You didn’t have a few reading lessons once and now you can read this article perfectly. It took lots of practice. Media literacy is no exception. For students to fully be “Media Literate” they need to have a lot of practice in mixed media lessons.

With access to lessons around the world and tools to help students gain access to different types of information, various sources, and build on their critical thinking skills, students will soon be able to help spot fake news and make informed educated opinions about the world of news around them.

Teaching digital literacy and how to spot fake news with Nearpod is easy and this, my fellow educators, is not fake news.

Interested in more digital citizenship content? Click here to explore more digital citizenship blog posts!

Nearpod also has virtual reality specific science lessons that you can download.

Explore Dig Cit Week lessons

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