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Media Literacy

Squiz Kids launches media literacy program for primary school kids

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Squiz Kids, the daily news podcast for kids, is rolling out a media literacy program ‘Newshounds’ to primary schools across Australia and New Zealand.

Bryce Corbett and Amanda Bower

The announcement:

Squiz Kids, Australia’s premier daily news podcast for kids, will mark Global Media Literacy Week (Oct 24-31) by rolling out its media literacy program ‘Newshounds’ for free to primary schools across Australia and New Zealand.

Newshounds by Squiz Kids is a plug-and-play media literacy teaching resource comprising eight x 10 minute podcasts with accompanying website and in-classroom activities, packaged up in an engaging board-game style format.

Squiz-E the Newshound takes primary-school-aged kids on a media literacy journey, teaching them to recognize misinformation and disinformation.

“Kids today have more information coming at them on a daily basis than at any other time in history,” says Squiz Kids director, Bryce Corbett. “And what little news they’re exposed to, they’re increasingly getting from their social media feeds. Newshounds makes kids critical consumers of media – teaching them to stop, think and check before believing everything they come across on the internet.”

Created by a pair of Australian journalists, the Newshounds media literacy program has been designed in consultation with the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Digital Media Research Centre.

A recent study* by the University of Western Sydney and QUT found that more than a third of young people (38%) got their news from social media and just under half (46%) of young people pay ‘little or no attention’ to the source of that information. Only one third (36%) of Australian kids believe they can tell fake news from real news.

“Teachers and parents alike know it’s important to teach their children media literacy, but few know where to start,” said Corbett. “Newshounds is designed to help teachers teach media literacy in the classroom and take those lessons back to the home environment. It’s all about learning how to tell online fact from fiction.”

Newshounds has already been piloted in classrooms across Australia and New Zealand and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from teachers who report increased confidence teaching media literacy- and from children able to identify misinformation.

The resource – which sees kids join a detective dog and play to earn badges including a magnifying glass, a torch ‘to shine a light on the truth’ and a set of handcuffs ‘to arrest misinformation’ – is being provided free to all schools in Australia and New Zealand thanks to a one-year partnership with the Google News Initiative.

Dr Amanda Levido from the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for the Digital Child at the Queensland University of Technology – an academic in the study of media literacy education – will monitor the effectiveness of Newshounds as it rolls out across schools.

*”News and Young Australians in 2020: How young people access, perceive and are affected by news media”: A joint report by University of Western Sydney + Queensland University of Technology.

Source: Squiz Kids

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