I grew up in a household that was obsessed with the news. From Grand parents to parents, from an early age I learnt that there was absolutly no talking of interrupting the 6 o’clock news on CTV. It baffled me how they would intensely watch both the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock news like earth shattering information was about to be revealed. The the morning paper was an essential daily read.
“man hands reading boy news paper – Credit to https://homethods.com/” by homethods is licensed under CC BY 2.0
To be honest I grew up ignoring the news, possibly a reaction to my news-obsessed family. Even now as an adult I can admit that keeping up with the daily news has never been my priority, not my joy. I found the daily news to be depressing and instead I have spent the majority of my life somewhat oblivious to it, operating under the premise that if anything is really that important/relevant I would inevitably find out about it through the grapevine. I can admit that my lack of experience in actively participating in the news, means I have a lot of work to do in regards to my own digital literacy, and hence the interest in enrolling in this class.
Without the occurrence of Covid, I don’t know if it really would have hit home for me how important this skill is. As it was only then that I found everyone around me was suddenly obsessed and at war over which side of the covid debate they fell on. I even admit that I became more invested in seeing the daily updates from Saskatchewan Health. It quickly became apparent to me that “news” is highly influenced by motives and opinions. Further our in-class discussion on how our social media affects the type of news feeds we see was a huge eye-opener. I had never considered that I was possibly only being exposed to the news from one perspective, and I definitely never thought or felt the need to question that perspective. I was so excited to try Politecho on my Facebook: Below is an image of what I found.
Moving forward and thinking about how I would approach this in my future classroom, I think that it is important to introduce this skill as often as possible and as young as possible. As a result I really love the links provided for activity based learning such as:
I also love the idea of using the Ted ed Playlist , as I found all of theose videos to be informative and interesting!
I love to teach cross-curricular, so I would say my favourite way to teach digital literacy would be to incorporate it into the subjects of health and math in a multi cross-curricular way. Looking at Grade 4 Cirriculum, here is where I would see connections:
Covid is an excellent opportunity to explore this, as there have been so many bad graphs that distort information. A lot of Adults are even uneducated on how to properly view and read a graph. I think the video How to spot a misleading graph – Lea Gaslowitz is an excellent teaching resource for this. I would have students watch this video and then experiment with graphing their own poll results in different ways to see how that affects the visual impact of the information. Have you ever been fooled by an accurate but misleading graph?
I believe that if we can teach our students to be critical thinkers then not only will they question the “news” they see and hear, but they will also be aware of how their own biases affect what they are exposed to and what they believe. It’s Easier To Call A Fact A Fact When It’s One You Like, shows us how this is true. The simple act of being aware of this fact helps us to remain critical of what we want to believe.