On Tuesday, May 16, NewseumED curriculum developers will be at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif., to pilot their newest media literacy class, “Fighting Fake News.” The class was launched at the Newseum in March in response to the 2016 presidential election, during which false news stories were widely shared on social media and are said to have influenced public opinion.
As concern over fake news rises, NewseumED believes the ability to identify misinformation is an increasingly important skill that needs to be in every student’s media literacy tool kit. With more than 400,000 students visiting the museum each year and 26,000 of them taking a class, NewseumED staff noticed many students struggle to understand basic concepts of media ethics, information sources and bias. At the same time, teachers worldwide began requesting resources and information on how they could best address the “fake news” issue in their classrooms.
“Social media has changed the way my students consume and interpret news and information,” says Esther Wojcicki, the Palo Alto High School teacher who invited NewseumED to her classroom. “Being an effective news consumer in the 21st century requires a robust understanding of how news is created, disseminated and consumed.”
In NewseumED’s “Fighting Fake News” class, students dive into the complexity of digital citizenship, including their active role in the flow of information. They examine case studies that bring to life the challenges of today’s media landscape and leave the class with easy-to-implement strategies for being savvy news consumers. Students also explore what “fake news” means, why they should care about it, and how to consider possible motivations behind news stories.
The classes at Palo Alto High School will take place from 8:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., and from 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. PT on Tuesday, May 16.