Navigating the current pandemic requires that young people acquire an increasingly complex set of skills, such as understanding statistical data, evaluating the credibility and truthfulness of health information, analyzing the risks and benefits of a particular treatment or vaccine, and interpreting test results. An essential skill in 2021 is health media literacy.
Let’s PLAY Checkers
Rather than simply disregard information as “fake news” media literate individuals are empowered as “critical thinkers and makers, effective communicators and active citizens.” Translation: They actively engage with the media and information ecosystem by adopting the mantra: When in doubt, check it out. Folks at the COMM+MEDIA Research Collaboratory have curated a short list of fact checking web sites that will help kids and adults alike locate truth in popular news stories in the areas of politics, economics, science, and health. A game of fact checkers, anyone?
Just Start a Conversation
The phrase media literacy has accrued a lot of mileage since 2016. It means different things to different people. Diversity of viewpoints applies just as much to the media literacy movement as it does to politics, art, economics, culture—and whether pumpkin flavoring should be added to anything other than pie.
Diversity of views is what fuels (not fumbles) the movement towards media literacy. At PLAY, we think of media literacy as a continuous (lifelong) journey rather than a destination that one finally arrives at. But such a stance can be overwhelming, we know. So, our recommendation during Media Literacy Week (Oct 21-25, 2019) is to share this 2-minute video from Media Smarts with a family member, friend, student, and/or colleague. And then talk. Together. See where the discussion leads.
Why We Like Adam Ruining Stuff
TruTV describes “In Adam Ruins Everything host and investigative comedian Adam Conover embarks on a comically inventive yet unrelentingly serious quest to reveal the hidden truths behind everything you know and love. Tackling topics ranging from the workplace and voting to forensic science and security, he gives you not just fun facts to share with your friends, but information that will make you see the world in a whole new way. If knowledge is power, then Adam Conover will have you laughing all the way to the top.” “Adam Ruins Hollywood” is particularly salient to watch during the award shows season (November through March). Other episodes that tap directly into the #fakenews conversation are “Adam Ruins the Internet” and “Adam Ruins Conspiracy Theories.” We also recommend “Adam Ruins Immigration” as it taps into current (misunderstood) political controversies.Why Do We Love Adam? (Hint: He Cites His Sources) Not only does he cite his sources in each episode, but there is an entire website devoted to source documentation for each episode. We love you, Adam.
Media Literacy is More Than Technological Proficiency
When 50 million children and adolescents return to school this fall, they will be immersed in the core subjects of Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. But arguably the most important set of knowledge and skills of the digital