Project Information Literacy, a nonprofit research institution that explores how college students find, evaluate and use information. It was commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Harvard Graduate School of Education.
focus groups and interviews with 103 undergraduates and 37 faculty members from eight U.S. colleges.
To better equip students for the modern information environment, the report recommends that faculty teach algorithm literacy in their classrooms. And given students’ reliance on learning from their peers when it comes to technology, the authors also suggest that students help co-design these learning experiences.
While informed and critically aware media users may see past the resulting content found in suggestions provided after conducting a search on YouTube, Facebook, or Google, those without these skills, particularly young or inexperienced users, fail to realize the culpability of underlying algorithms in the resultant filter bubbles and echo chambers (Cohen, 2018).
Media literacy education is more important than ever. It’s not just the overwhelming calls to understand the effects of fake news or addressing data breaches threatening personal information, it is the artificial intelligence systems being designed to predict and project what is perceived to be what consumers of social media want.
Literacy in today’s online and offline environments “means being able to use the dominant symbol systems of the culture for personal, aesthetic, cultural, social, and political goals” (Hobbs & Jensen, 2018, p 4).
Even on seemingly-serious websites, credibility is not a given. When I was in middle and high school, we were taught that we could trust .org websites. Now, with the practice of astroturfing, responsible consumers of information must dig deeper and go further to verify the legitimacy of information. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astroturfing
Experiences like these, where students are challenged to consider the validity of information and sort what’s real from what’s fake, would better prepare them not only to be savvier consumers of news, but also to someday digest contradictory information to make complicated decisions about their own health care, finances or civic engagement.
freely available resources to help educators teach how to vet information and think critically about real-world topics.
Some news organisations, including the BBC, New York Times and Buzzfeed have made their own “deepfake” videos, ostensibly to spread awareness about the techniques. Those videos, while of varying quality, have all contained clear statements that they are fake.
The Poynter Institute – an enlightened non-profit in St. Petersburg, Fla., that has an ownership role in the Tampa Bay Times and provides research, training and educational resources on journalism – provides many excellent online modules to help citizens improve their news media literacy.
citizens should support local and regional publications that hew to ethical journalism standards and cover local government entities.