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Media Literacy

Educators establish media competence society

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AROUND 65 teachers and lecturers have joined Malaysia’s first registered society to combat misinformation and disinformation through education.

The initiative was launched in conjunction with Unesco’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week and is supported by the award-winning Media Education For All (ME4A) movement.

It aims to deliver a stronger force for building critical thinkers and smarter media consumers through a systematic and sustainable strategy: the empowerment of educators to empower their students.

“We welcome teachers and faculty who are genuinely committed to educating our younger generation of media literacy, enrolling soon,” said David Chak, Arus Academy co-founder and ME4A project leader, in a November 10 press release.Sabarja: Our common voice will pave the way for critical thinkers.

Kebangsaan Malaysia University’s Media and Information Literacy Specialist, Assoc.

“Our collective voice and power as educators will pave the way for greater awareness and action to foster critical thinkers among the younger generation,” said Sabarja, who has worked with Unesco on media and information literacy initiatives in the region.

ME4A was named the Best News Literacy Project at the Asian Digital Media Awards 2021, with strategic plans that will train over 4,000 local educators in media and information literacy this year alone – with a free online course that focuses on the Malaysian countryside and developed by local educators and media professionals.

As part of the recently completed Media Education Academy Challenge, 11 educators took home cash prizes of RM 10,000 for innovation in education by developing lessons that incorporated media and information literacy into their subjects.Mah: We have to be critical of the information we receive.Mah: We have to be critical of the information we receive.

Among the winners was Mah Zhi Jian, a teacher at SJK (C) Yeang Cheng, Kedah. He drafted a lesson with the message that national Paralympic athlete Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli was disqualified at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Students were asked to watch tweets and comments on the story and to discuss the ethical issues related to such online conversations.

Mah said he was inspired by his reaction, as well as that of other people, to the incident.

“It was so convenient for us readers to overreact, be blinded by biased information, and then publicly criticize others before checking the truth.

“We have to be really critical of the information we receive and we have to be smart to determine its validity so that we don’t end up being someone who abuses social media to spread fake news,” he said.

SM Sains Kepala Batas, Penang, teacher Nur Wanira Mohd Basri said that her students, who are avid media users, inspired her to develop fun and creative classes that integrate media and information literacy.

At the end of the lesson, students created reminders to help others distinguish between real and fake news online.Wanira only: It's critical that students get into the habit of relying on credible news sources.Wanira only: It is critical that students get into the habit of relying on credible news sources.

“It is critical that students are well-equipped with media literacy, develop critical thinking skills in assessing news, and make a habit of relying on credible news sources,” she said.

Educators can now access the newly launched resource database with the best collection of lesson plans and materials submitted by students. The ME4A organizers hope that they will inspire the educators to see that critical thinking skills can be taught creatively and easily.

All ME4A resources are available to the public free of charge at https://arus.cc/MEA.

To join the society, educators can visit https://arus.cc/persatuanlmm.

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