Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Propaganda, campaigns, misinformation, MIL #globalweekweek

I'm continuing to liveblog the session on MIL as a defence against misinformation the Global Media and Information Literacy Week (this is a photo of break time).
Renee Hobbs (University of Rhode Island, USA) talked Finding truth in an age of digital propaganda, talking about the new media forms. She proposed relacing the term "fake news" with more precise terms like propaganda, satire, errors, hoax, disinformation etc. The motives and potential outcomes for these forms of "fake news" were different. Hobbs talked at more length about propaganda. She felt that "virality" (as a process of interpersonal influence) was something that should be taught at schools, encouraging citizens to think about who influences them and who they influence. She mentioned the tool Videoant and her own website
Tara Susman-Pena from IREX talked about their Learn to Discern campaign, which included training the trainers, a distance learning course and various other activities. This was a 9 month pilot project in Ukraine, and there was a lot of evaluation afterwards: people self reported increased discernment, and 90,000 people were reached indirectly. They also did some qualitative research into the project. The initiative seemed to work because it followed demand: of people's joy in teaching (a detailed curriculum was developed, but there was flexibility in how it was taught) and in learning (ownership of the project by teachers and learners was encouraged). Great care was taken in choosing examples to study, aiming to find relevant examples that was not going to ignite conflict. People were also encouraged to move from "shock" to action. Susman-Pena finished by flagging up future developments and also cautioning us not to encourage people to distrust everything.
The final speaker was Ana Kozlowska (a librarian at Dickinson College, USA) who talked about Is fake news the only problem? How information literacy helps first year students develop critical habits of mind while evaluating information found online. She talked about how they had created a programme on teaching undergraduates to detect bias, to understand the implications of their action on social media and also that information has value. The librarians selected four classes in which they would teach these elements. They had pre class activity (reading and 48 social media monitoring). Then they had discussion in classes focused around issues of polarisation, bias etc. This did have some limitations, such as self-censoring in reporting media use and also faculty's hesitation about the project. Then the students had to find two news articles covering the same issue from different angles and pose themselves critical questions about both articles. There was evidence that the students became more aware of differences in ways of presenting information.

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