Authentication Beyond the Classroom Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 9 to 10

About the Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

Duration: 1-2 hours

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE: A Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson, students discuss “viral” photos, videos and news stories that spread via social media. They are shown how challenging it is to authenticate these using only their content and are introduced to tools and techniques for gauging their accuracy based on context, with an eye towards making wise and responsible decisions about whether or not to forward them to their friends and family.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Develop habits of skepticism
  • Learn strategies and techniques for authenticating online content
  • Apply authentication strategies outside of school contexts
  • Perform research online
  • Present research findings, including a judgment based on research

Click here to download the Viral Videos: Real or Fake? slideshow.

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.