When teens find misinformation, these teachers are ready – The Denver Post

Between lessons about the Revolutionary War and the functions of Congress, juniors in several history and U.S. government classes at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, are taught to defend themselves against disinformation.

The students, many of them on the cusp of voting age, spend up to two weeks each fall exploring how falsehoods, prejudices and opinions can lurk in the many places they get information. They learn to trace the origins of documents, to validate a website by leaving it to consult other sources and to train a critical eye on the claims made by TikTok influencers and on YouTube videos.

“With students and adults alike, it’s just easy to look at stuff on social media and take it as it is and not question it,” said Paul Blakesley, who has taught students about media and information literacy for several years at the high school. “It can be difficult to push through that apathy, but it’s well worth trying.”

Children and teenagers are not the only ones susceptible to misinformation: Several studies suggest that older adults are more likely to struggle to recognize fake news and are the most likely to share it.

But with young people spending more time online, where misleading and false narratives swirl around the upcoming midterm elections, the COVID-19 pandemic and other topics, educators are increasingly trying to offer protection. Using techniques updated for the digital age, they are teaching students that virality does not confer legitimacy, that content can be fabricated or manipulated and that a .org domain does not make a website trustworthy.

At Palmer High School, Blakesley tries to demonstrate how to distinguish between good information and bad: Who are the sources? What is their perspective? When is it appropriate to turn to Wikipedia?

Alarmed by the surge of misinformation online, several educational groups representing more than 350,000 teachers in math, social studies and other disciplines created an alliance to better support those trying to teach media literacy. One of the founding groups, the National Association for Media Literacy Education, said its own membership had more than doubled in the past five years.

Federal and state legislators have tried in recent years to support media literacy in public schools. Five states, including Colorado, passed language since early 2020 that required education departments to take steps such as providing literacy resources and revising learning standards, according to the nonprofit group Media Literacy Now. Many of the existing laws amount to legislative endorsements of the need for literacy education rather than actual mandates. Only one state, Illinois, requires that high school students be taught how to gain access to and analyze media messages.

Without an explicit mandate from lawmakers, though, some schools — many of which face staff shortages and political fights over classroom subjects — struggle to integrate media literacy into their curriculum. And those that manage to do so often teach it using outdated checklists delivered in short bursts, rather than as an integrated part of core subjects.

But media and information literacy advocates said the difficulties were outweighed by the dangers if young students fail to recognize rhetorical red flags and fall prey to confirmation bias online, where they could unwittingly feed rumors and contribute to polarization.

“There are challenges with getting this into schools,” said Jimmeka Anderson, who founded the youth-focused group I AM not the MEdia. “But it’s a necessity for the way we live today because we’re all engaging in this online space, especially youth.”

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Bulletin Reporter is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected] bulletinreporter.com . The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More