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?
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!
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