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Here are three tips to make sure you share good information and stop the spread of hoaxes, rumours and scams.
1. Watch for your own bias
One of the hardest things about being a responsible sharer is to be aware of the reasons why you might be more likely to believe something without evidence. Before you share a story, take a few minutes to see whether you’ve fallen into one of these common biases:
On the internet, it can be hard to tell what’s true and what’s false—but we have to make a lot of decisions based on how reliable we think things are. In Reality Check, you’ll learn how to find clues like finding where a story originally came from and comparing it to other sources, as well as how to use tools like fact-checking sites and reverse image searches.
While the training workshops focus on the five key concepts of digital literacy, this implementation guide looks at the specific skill areas that MediaSmarts has identified as being essential for students to learn by the end of their secondary education: ethics and empathy, privacy and security, community engagement, digital health, consumer awareness, finding and verifying and making and remixing. The guide also addresses common challenges to integrating digital literacy into the classroom, such as limitations on available technology and classroom management concerns, and includes links to relevant MediaSmarts’ and other resources, and apps and tools for creating digital media in your classroom.
In this lesson, students explore the concepts relating to data collection that are introduced in the educational game Data Defenders. The lesson will underscore for students the idea that their data is valuable and worthy of careful management by analyzing the platforms, applications and websites they use through the lens of the five privacy tools (which address the five principal ways data is collected online) introduced in Data Defenders. Finally, students consider how to apply these tools to their own online activities.
In this lesson students are introduced to the concept of “avatars” and share their experiences creating and playing avatars in video games and virtual worlds. They then create avatars using a program that is intentionally limited in terms of available body types and gender markers, first creating an avatar of their own gender and then of the opposite gender, and then discuss the program and relate it to representations of gender and body image in games and virtual worlds and in other media. Students then create avatars using a much more flexible version of the program and compare that experience to the more limited version. Finally, students use the more versatile program to create avatars that represent how they see themselves and how they would like others to see them online and reflect on the choices that went into creating them.
In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea that “hot” emotional states such as anger or excitement can make it harder for them to control how they act. They also discuss the concept of empathy and look at the ways in which digital communication can make it harder to feel empathy for other people. Students then read scenarios that portray two sides of an online conflict and consider how to resolve them, using their discussion to build a list of tools for emotional management and conflict resolution online. Finally, students create a media product that explains and reminds them of one of those tools.
Data Defenders is an interactive game that teaches children and pre-teens the concept of personal information and its economic value, and introduces them to ways to manage and protect their personal information on the websites and apps they enjoy
In this lesson, students are introduced to Earth Day and the theme of “Green Cities”. After listening to a short presentation on the concept of a “green city” and elements that constitute a green city (e.g. renewable energy sources such as solar panels, more energy-efficient buildings, recycling programs, cleaner air and water) students participate in an activity where they count the number of parks on a map of their city or neighbourhood. Maps are then analyzed as a medium as students discuss how they are created, things they can and can’t show, and their effectiveness at communicating environmental information.
In this lesson, students consider the positive aspects of video games as well as the ways in which games may take time away from other activities they enjoy. Students are introduced to the idea of balancing game and screen time with other parts of their lives and learn about the reasons why they may be tempted to spend more time playing games or find it difficult to stop playing. They then keep a diary of their game play (or another screen activity if they do not play video games) that prompts them to reflect on their gaming habits. Partway through that process, they are introduced to techniques that will help them moderate their game play and deal with the difficulties they may feel reducing game time. Finally, students reflect on the experience and develop a plan to make their game play more mindful.
In this lesson, students watch a short video that compares getting rid of personal information online to getting toothpaste back into a tube. After a short discussion of how visual analogies like this work, students discuss the meaning of the video (that information online is permanent.) They then read a series of short scenarios that help them identify four further principles of information online: that it can be copied, that it can be seen by unintended audiences, that it can be seen by larger audiences than intended, and that it becomes searchable. Finally, students create a simple animation that illustrates one of these principles.
Developed in partnership with CIRA, this interactive quiz is designed to increase students’ knowledge of the cyber security risks they face every day.
Because of the ways that digital media leave out many of the cues that prompt us to feel empathy, it is easy for young people to sometimes forget that real people – with real feelings – are at the heart of online conversations. In this lesson, students are provided with opportunities to explore this concept and discuss the importance of using empathy and common sense when talking to others online.
In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea that privacy is a fundamental human right and that their personal information is valuable. The lesson focuses on the “economics” of personal information and that most “free” apps and online services make some or all of their revenue by collecting (and in some cases reselling) users’ personal information. Students will watch a video that illustrates the idea that they may be paying with their privacy and then discuss some of the ramifications of this. They will learn about tools and techniques for minimizing the personal information they share and create a public service announcement that helps them and their peers “know the deal” about the value of privacy.
This lesson introduces students to the ways in which commercial Web sites collect personal information from kids and to the issues surrounding children and privacy on the Internet.