Is the best place to fight “fake news” in the classroom? Finland is teaching media literacy to students as a way to make society less susceptible to disinformation and propaganda. While some countries have been combating disinformation by introducing tougher legalisation, proponents of media literacy argue a more effective approach is through education.

Fake news laws can raise questions about free speech and censorship. In fact, the term “fake news” is often used to attack legitimate journalists and discredit the media. However, teaching critical thinking and the importance of verifying facts and checking sources can help audiences become more resilient.

On the other hand, we already ask a lot of education systems. They already need to prepare students for a changing labour market and teach them “21st century skills”. If teachers are going to be expected to impart media literacy skills to students, how can we ensure they have the support and professional development they need? And should “media literacy” be taught as a distinct subject, or should digital media be incorporated throughout the rest of the curriculum?

Want to learn more about media literacy education? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from HJo, says it’s important to have an education system where people learn how to read and understand media as early as possible. Is he right? Should media literacy be a compulsory school subject?

To get a response, we put HJo’s suggestion to Matt Brittin, President of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Business & Operations at Google. What would he say?

For another perspective, we also spoke to Hans Martens, Digital Citizenship Programme Manager at European Schoolnet. Would he support media literacy lessons in schools across Europe?

Finally, we put the same comment to Dr Elizabeth Milovidov, lawyer, law professor and eSafety consultant who advises numerous international bodies and organisations, including the Council of Europe. What would she say?

Should media literacy be a compulsory school subject? Is it important to have an education system where people learn how to read and understand media as early as possible? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: BigStock (c) – famveldman
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25 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Leopold

    More indoctrination classes? What could go wrong?

    • avatar
      Benny

      you obviously have not read the article. Teaching critical thinking is not indoctrination! Ironically, you need these lessons!

  2. avatar
    Juan

    The fake news is a.business.
    Like all business have benefits. Is legal the benefits of fake news?

  3. avatar
    Tom

    Why not just teach languages, religion and sports? All encourage an understanding and respect for others.

  4. avatar
    Elle

    Brainwashing the kids even more than ever then.

  5. avatar
    Filipe

    It’s a good place to start. I teach technology in a public school, and I always make sure that the students are aware of the risks of social media and teach them fact checking strategies.

  6. avatar
    Craig

    Fake news starts in the classroom! The clever kids will figure out when their teachers are fibbing. But for this we need strong support networks, both online and offline.

  7. avatar
    Paul

    Two and a half thousand years ago Socrates practised critical thinking to encourage students to distinguish between bias, presumptions etc..and fact/truth.
    It’s not just modern media that needs to be challenged.

  8. avatar
    Rick

    When did it ever stop? Always look at the sources, fountains, streams of information. Just because it’s been published, polished, prepared, that doesn’t equate to validity, fact, fair and true statements. The old standard of if it’s been “published” then it must have already been vetted for accuracy, fairness and truth died decades ago….

  9. avatar
    Gaby

    Enhance critical thinking skills

  10. avatar
    Laura

    It is part of critical thinking, which is (or should be) already core part of school education.

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  12. avatar
    Marc

    That would depend on who is deciding what is fake news.

  13. avatar
    Herman

    Yes,. Children should be taught at a young age what are the responsible do’s and don’ts on the Internet and all that they can achieve with the help of the Internet .

  14. avatar
    Twei

    misinformation, propaganda, too sided left right center up down, can be spread by anyone anywhere =/
    humans need to learn to take anything with a grain of salt
    know about
    human tendencies to exaggerate, or tendencies of not mentioning many other factors or other results (positive or negative) that can have other consequences for your overall conclusion

  15. avatar
    Xristoforos

    Steve Jobs & tech people keep their childern away of sceens until 14. Thus better focus on playgrounds, natural stimulations & other, most kids cant enjoy properly in order to develop them selfs in an optimum balanced way to their own benefit & society.

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