"Young Canadians aren't just passive consumers of media anymore – they're broadcasters too. It's harder than ever to tell the difference between accurate information and advertising, misinformation and parody, and it's easy for any of us to inadvertently spread false information."
(Cathy Wing, co-Executive Director, MediaSmarts, 2018)
Media plays a huge role in the lives of our students. It provides a window to the world; it allows us to communicate across borders; it informs and teaches us about so many things in so many ways.
This year’s theme for MediaSmarts, Canada's centre for digital and media literacy, and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, is “Break the Fake.” With so much information out there, students need to ensure that what they are reading and sharing online is factual, unbiased, and reliable.
As digital citizens in today’s wired world, it is important that students learn to be critical users of media. By asking questions, making comments, and sharing opinions, students can play a role in shaping media representations, including the importance of inclusivity in all media.
For younger children it is important to teach them that media products are constructions. A media product (e.g., an ad, a movie, a TV show, a billboard) has been created by a group of individuals. It has been designed for a particular audience for a particular purpose.
Watch the video“House Hippo 2.0” https://mediasmarts.ca/break-fake
Explain that the House Hippo is just one example that gets us thinking about what we believe in the media.
Remind students that they need to remember to:
For some other great resources on fake information, check out MediaSmarts at: http://mediasmarts.ca/get-involved/media-literacy-week-break-fake and https://mediasmarts.ca/break-fake
Activity for 2019’s theme, “Break the Fake”:
Ask students if they have ever seen a clam eating. If so, invite them to describe the process. Explain that they are going to watch a video entitled, “Live clam eats salt on table.”
Watch the following You Tube video found here.
Explain the science behind what the clam is doing in this video. The “tongue” is actually the clam’s foot. The action we see is not “licking” but the movement a beached clam does to drag itself back into the water. The salt has nothing to do with what is going on; the salt was on the table and the clam’s action simply looks like it is related to the salt.
Ask students now to consider these questions:
Confirm with students that the video “Live clam licks salt on a table” consists of real footage, but it is not truthful. If viewers aren’t familiar with clam biology, they might be willing to believe that they’re watching a clam’s tongue licking at flavourful salt – maybe because it resembles a human action we are familiar with. Add the caption “Live clam eats salt on table,” and viewers may feel convinced that this is what the video is showing.
As MediaSmarts reminds us, “There are two basic components to authenticating online information: critical thinking skills that let you ask key questions and the technical skills that help you answer them.”
That’s why it is important to ask questions about what we see in the media and think about how to check both the authenticity and the truthfulness of what is presented to us. Ask students to suggest ways they could check whether a video like the one you watched is truthful.
For more information about this video and the authentication process, go to the following link on the MediaSmart website here.
Visit the MediaSmarts website at https://mediasmarts.ca/break-fake.
Watch “House Hippo 2.0,” try the 2019 quiz, and view the fact-checking tools and lesson plans for the 2019 theme of “Break the Fake.”
Activity for the 2019 theme, “Break the Fake”:
Share the information in the Introduction and this year’s theme, “Break the Fake” with students and ask what they understand by the term “fake news.” Invite them to share examples they can recall of information that was publicized in the media that later turned out to be untrue (or, not the “whole story”).
MediaSmarts and Facebook Canada have partnered together to develop the Reality Check! program. Watch the following video with students entitled “News You Can Use.” found here.
Divide students into small groups and pass out the “News You Can Use’ from the MediaSmart website here.
Assign groups to review one of the three tips on the sheet.
Following their review, close by asking:
Visit the MediaSmarts website at https://mediasmarts.ca/break-fake
Watch “House Hippo 2.0” and other informative videos available on the MediaSmarts 2019 website. Try the 2019 quiz and view the fact-checking tools and lesson plans for the 2019 theme of “Break the Fake.” Ask students to summarize the best ways to fact-check all media for accuracy and truth. Remind them to take these steps as well when they are doing research or developing a school project using any media source.