Reality Check: News You Can Use

In this lesson, students consider the meanings of the term “fake news” and learn facts about the news industry that will help them recognize legitimate sources of news. They use an educational computer game to learn how to track a news story to its original source before evaluating its reliability, then practice the same skills “in the wild” with actual news stories.

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Reality Check: We Are All Broadcasters

In this lesson, students consider the ways in which our own biases can prevent us from being objective. They then learn ways to recognize and account for our biases and practice these by playing an interactive online game. Finally, students learn about how public service campaigns can change social norms and create their own PSA to promote ethical sharing of online information.

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Reality Check: Authentication and Citizenship

In this lesson, students consider the ways in which misinformation can have an impact on history and politics. After discussing a number of historical examples of misinformation, they examine the ways in which news sources may be biased and use an interactive online game to practice skills in getting more context on a story. Finally, students read a current news story and use what they have learned to find the context they need to understand it.

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Reality Check: Getting the Goods on Science and Health

In this lesson, students start by considering the wide range of science and health information they are likely to encounter in news or through social media. They read an article on a scientific topic to help them understand the particular challenges of verifying science and health information and then use an educational computer game to practice skills in critically reading health and science stories. Finally, students compile a list of reliable sources they can turn to for verifying health and science stories.

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Art Exchange

The purpose of the lesson is to facilitate and develop youth art as a form of community engagement and give students the opportunity to explore their experiences with privacy and equality in networked spaces. Students will be presented with several scenarios related to experiences of privacy and (in)equality in networked spaces and how young people have used art to advocate for change. Students will be asked to develop an art project (mural, collage, recorded performances, face/body art, etc.) that they believe best reflects the issues that are important to them. Since the expertise and support to implement an art project vary from classroom to classroom, there are three options for completing this lesson: (i) students design and create their art projects; (ii) students develop a plan to produce an art project without actually creating it; and (iii) students are mentored by professional artists who help them design and implement their art projects.

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PushBack: Engaging in Online Activism

This lesson explores how young people can use online media for activism on issues that matter to them. Through the discussion and scenarios that are presented, students will develop their knowledge and ability to respond or “push back” against issues they feel passionate about, such as racism, discrimination, sexism – and make a difference. At the end of the lesson students will use The eQuality Project PushBack Timeline to research examples of online youth activism on topics that appeal to them. The end goal of this lesson is to create an understanding of youth activism that can transition into the lives of students outside of the classroom.

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My teens are still young and new to social media, so until now, we’ve mostly been focusing on the risks. Our main message to them has been to be careful, and that less time online is always better.

How can teachers equip their students to successfully and ethically navigate the digital world?

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.

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