In this digital age, we’re bombarded with information our entire waking lives, and it’s getting worse. Kids are feeling the pinch with media coming at them from every direction. To help teach kids the critical thinking skills to consume all this media the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, have today announced a Media Literacy Lab which will provide resources to teachers and students to gain skills to spot misinformation online.
The Media Literacy Lab builds on the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s eSmart cyber safety framework which has been provided to schools to create a safe cyber environment for students for more than 10 years. The lab is supported by a $1.4m investment from Google.org.
Google has been providing tools for kids to help surf the web safer and smarter with their beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com program, which helps ‘kids be safe, confident explorers of the online world’. The Be Internet Awesome campaign supplied tools which worked well with children aged kids ages 7-12 but the Media Literacy Lab is aimed at secondary school students aged 12-16.
The lab, which is free to access until January 2021, contains six gamified, youth-driven modules covering subjects like “what is media”, “media online”, “online hate” and more. The modules will teach students how media is published online as well as giving them access to tools to fact check information found online. The aim is to help students develop critical thinking skills to effectively navigate the online world.
Lesley Podesta, CEO of The Alannah & Madeline Foundation said ‘It can be hard to spot ‘fact’ from ‘opinion’. Without media literacy knowledge and skills, young people are susceptible to online harm, manipulation, misinformation and the many faces of fear and hate speech.‘
The medialiteracylab.org.au gives secondary school teachers access to Australian Curriculum-aligned content, classroom and remote delivery ideas and professional knowledge.
The Media Literacy Lab launch was well received by Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, who congratulated the Foundation on the launch of this important education resource, saying ‘Understanding the role of contemporary media in modern democracies and what our role is as citizens within that landscape has never been more important‘.
There is so much information online, and it’s hard to know what your kids are watching, so arming them with the skills to identify the garbage for themselves is an awesome idea.