This Institute for the Study of Social Change report titled Insight five: a snapshot of media literacy in Australian schools explores the challenge of teaching young people to separate fact from fiction in an age of online news manipulation.
Authored by Dr Jocelyn Nettlefold, who leads the Media Literacy Project partnership between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and University of Tasmania, and Dr Kathleen Williams, head of journalism at the University of Tasmania, the report draws on a recent survey of Tasmanian primary and secondary school teachers.
It also provides an overview of news consumption trends and the proliferation of misinformation in the digital realm, while highlighting concerns about students’ abilities to identify false news.
The report calls for a multi-stakeholder approach to media literacy and media education in Australia and for greater support and training for teachers.
Of the 97 teachers from the State, Catholic and Independents sectors who took part in the snapshot survey, the majority (77%) feel equipped to guide students on whether news stories are true and can be trusted, but nearly a quarter (23%) do not.
Overwhelmingly, teachers view critical thinking about media as important but when asked how often they explore critical engagement with news stories, nearly a quarter of the teachers surveyed (24%) said they rarely turned it into a classroom activity.
Many teachers, particularly those at the secondary level, are deeply worried about students’ reliance on digital and mobile media for news.
There are inconsistencies across educational sectors about the teaching of media literacy under the Australian Curriculum.
Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania 2018