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Media literacy classes are a must for schools

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The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of teaching students the difference between real and fake or misleading news, say the authors of a new report on news media education.

The report, “News Literacy and Australian Teachers: How News Media is Taught in the Classroom,” also recommends teachers to get more time, resources, and support from the curriculum.

The report is a collaboration between QUT’s Digital Media Research Center (DMRC) and the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, funded by the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) and Google Australia, project and surveyed several hundred elementary school and secondary school teachers across Australia.

Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni, deputy director of the DMRC, said the overwhelming majority of teachers felt it was extremely important that students learn how to read the news critically, as well as learn about message bias and check themselves for facts.

A third of respondents also lacked confidence to approach the subject in class, while others struggled with poor quality internet access.

“News media literacy should be an important part of a broader digital media literacy education program, but most teachers surveyed said that the Australian curriculum does not give them good support to teach and some schools do not value them,” said Associate Professor Dezuanni.

Co-author Dr. Tanya Notley of Western Sydney University said the need for the study was driven by the way the internet has dramatically changed the way all Australians participate in society and how they collect their news and entertainment . She added that this was especially the case for younger people as online messaging began for many children during their elementary school years.

“At the same time, news is now being produced and distributed more quickly, using an ever-increasing number of social media platforms. Very often, social media users come across news from a number of sources even when the events are still ongoing, ”said Dr. Notley.

“A demanding, constant 24-hour news cycle across many digital platforms makes checking sources and claims more complicated than ever.

“This has created focal points for allegations and counter-allegations by fake news at critical moments in elections, natural disasters, and most recently when the world is battling COVID-19. In the past few months we’ve seen a flurry of conspiracy theories. fake remedies and more widely circulated, often by celebrities that many young people follow on social media. “

Associate Professor Dezuanni added that so far very little is known about how media literacy is taught in our schools and even less about how teachers think about the subject and how it can be improved.

“Just last year, the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission’s survey of digital platforms highlighted the importance of digital media literacy education in schools,” he said.

“Our project aims to help federal and state governments develop strategies to promote media literacy in the education system and ensure that it gains prominence in the 2020 Australian curriculum review.

“We also hope the research will be of interest to news media organizations looking to increase their engagement with young Australians, schools and teachers, and the producers of media literacy materials.”

The research goal complements the mandate of the Museum of Australian Democracy according to MoAD Manager, Learning, Deborah Sulway.

“At MoAD, we engage and inform young citizens and enable them to use their voice and actively participate in democracy,” said Sulway.

“We work closely with teachers to educate young Australians as informed citizens using digital media and to hear their voices.” Deborah Sulway, Learning Manager at MoAD. ”

Most young Australians cannot spot fake news online

More information:
News Literacy and Australian Teachers: How News Media Is Taught in the Classroom. www.westernsydney.edu.au/media… earch / teacher_survey Provided by the Queensland University of Technology

Quote: Media literacy lessons a must for schools (2020, May 29) accessed on August 30, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2020-05-media-literacy-lessons-schools.html

This document is subject to copyright. Except for fair trade for private study or research purposes, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

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