This is a guest blog post from Lesley Podesta, CEO of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation is one of Australia’s most respected children’s charities, and is dedicated to protecting children from violence and its devastating impact.
With the online world playing an increasingly important role in the lives of young Australians for education and entertainment, it’s more important than ever that we help them to develop skills to stay safe and identify misinformation.
Today, with the help of a $1.4 million investment from Google.org, we’ve launched Media Literacy Lab - the first dedicated teaching and learning tool where Australian students can develop crucial critical thinking abilities to navigate online environments. This new media literacy toolkit is currently available for free to Australian students nationally. Teachers can register at medialiteracylab.org.au
This groundbreaking education program will draw on fictional narratives with real-life examples to help students identify trusted sources of information, understand the impacts of hate speech and avoid manipulation.
“In Year 7, a time when everyone is connecting to the online world, kids don’t always know what to do,’’ said 15-year-old Solli Raphael.
Solli is a published author who has used social media to promote his book and connect with his audience. Now a Youth Ambassador for Media Literacy Lab, Solli believes the program will benefit fellow students as they embark on the online world for the first time.
“The lessons in the Lab are really engaging. There’s not an information overload and it’s all clear and easy to understand. This will really empower young people,” Solli said.
We’ve developed the first-of-its-kind program with industry experts, academics and schools. It’s designed for students aged 12 to 16, who will navigate six modules that are gamified and youth-driven.
Students will learn about media essentials, ways that they can verify information sources and be aware of deepfakes and bots. We’ve worked to ensure these important messages are delivered in a way that’s safe, insightful and engaging.
Young people aged over 13 mostly get news from three sources - social media, family and TV, but with those who rely on social media, only about half pay attention to the original source.
Media literacy skills are incredibly important for young people who can have a difficult time when it comes to determining fact from opinion. This means they can be more susceptible to misinformation, manipulation and hate speech.
Our Media Literacy Lab will work to shape a generation of media-savvy Australians who are more skilled to see this harmful activity for what it is, can better examine information and make more informed decisions.
Over the last 10 years, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation has worked with Google to protect children online. This initiative builds on our eSmart Digital Licence, an online safety education program that’s had more than 370,000 student registrations.
We are providing free access to Media Literacy Lab until January 2021, with content that’s aligned to the Australian Curriculum. For more information, please contact the Media Literacy Lab team on 1300 592 151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org