Everything around us is media: books, movies, ads, websites, social networks, platforms… We spend most of our days with digital media, so it’s crucial that we understand who created it, for what purpose, and how it affects us.
During this course, we are going to take a look at the history of media literacy (understanding how to navigate new media is not a new problem!) but also at how the business around traditional and digital media works, and reflect on your role as media creator.
In the age where the majority of our information comes from social media, it’s more important than ever to make future generations aware of the mechanism behind the news system.
We need to guide our students towards an aware consumption of media products, first of all recognizing that every media content is created by someone, for a reason.
Trough some explanation, and plenty of examples and activities based on our everyday habits, we will make sure that at the end of this course you will be able to evaluate the credibility and quality of the media content you come across, you will understand the role of algorithms in your everyday life and become a responsible content creator.
You will also develop the skills to be able to pass this content on to your students, creating activities that help them be literate when it comes to digital media!
Topic 1: Step 1
We have to start somewhere, and we will start by creating some common ground: we will take a look at how we have tried to control the effect of media over time (understanding how to navigate new media is not a new problem!), and we will also look at some of the most popular and important theories of communication. This way we will create a shared vocabulary for moving through the course!
Topic 2: Digital vs Traditional media
New technologies mean new challenges: more than half of the adults in the USA take their news from Facebook, yet Facebook is not a media company, and it doesn’t have to respect the same rules as traditional media. And what about advertisements? We have gone from ad boards to influencers, and we now need new skills to recognize commercial content when we see it! Let’s dig in together
Topic 3: We are the danger
We like to think of ourselves as rational, cold, and calculators machines, but in fact, our brain uses a lot of shortcuts to navigate our daily lives, and some of these are against us when we are trying to navigate the world
of digital media. Let’s find out more about the law of closure, the process of false memory, how confirmation bias works, and in general what we should be aware of when we are in contact with new information.
Topic 4: Algorithmic literacy
“When something is free, you are the product”. This quote has become popular in the last years, and it summarizes perfectly what algorithms do. In this unit, we will understand the role of algorithms (and other profiling systems) in shaping our digital media landscape. We will also talk about how (and when, and why) to protect our privacy online.
Topic 5: Click-bait and fake news
In this unit, we will learn to evaluate the quality and credibility of the media content we encounter. A 21st-century skill that we can no longer live without!
Topic 6: Now it’s your turn!
How many of these have you done recently? Post a picture on Instagram? Sent a message to a group chat? Shared an article on Fb? Uploaded a video on YouTube? Then you are indeed a digital content creator! Learn how to be a responsible one!
Topic 7: Pass it on
Internet access is still a luxury; if your students have this luxury, they should learn the dynamics behind it and how to use it responsibly. Let’s look at some activities you can do together to help them understand the importance of using this resource wisely.
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