Thursday, June 1, 2017

Oceania is at war with Eurasia and the Earth isn't Getting Warmer

"Oceana is at war with Eurasia. Oceana has always been at war with Eurasia." In this world where facts are optional and "alternative facts" is now a term central to our political discourse, it seems we are living in a society against which Orwell warned us. In this era, it is ever more important that we teach students to be critical consumers of media. The fact that almost half of American citizens believe climate change is a lie is due to years of disinformation from oil companies who took a page out of the tobacco industry's book. It's been a big con. 

To make our students critical and careful consumers, we have to teach and we must let them practice! Digital and media literacy are important skills that are largely ignored in schools and clearly it shows. Stanford's study showing that students are easily fooled by fake information online received a lot of media attention after the US presidential election. It is clearly concerning. Indeed, it's so easy to bemoan the flaws of "the kids today". But adults aren't really any better at this and are frequently duped as well

KQED and Common Sense Media both have great resources for teachers. Click around on both sites to see lesson plans and units about media literacy. We as teachers do not need to create good lessons and units from scratch. There is a lot of good stuff out there. But we do need to take time and teach it and let students practice.

Can we once and for all drop the notion of "digital native"? It means very little. Our students may be frequent but passive consumers of media, but they need to be taught how to engage with media and become facile with tech tools.

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