Media Literacy Week is approaching in Finland, but media literacy is a current topic at any time of the year. As I promised in my previous blog post, we continue discussing media literacy in this second part!
Having majored in media culture in my bachelor’s degree, I find media literacy a really important topic and that is why I wanted to highlight the theme here in Seppo's blog as well. I believe that with Seppo, media skills can be taught in an interesting and motivating way. Playing in groups allows the students to properly discuss their assignments with each other and therefore they can provide deeper analysis on the topic.
Going through the Seppo game library I noticed, that there are multiple games on media literacy in Finnish, but not too many in English. Would be great to get a game or two on the topic in English to the library. If you have previously made a game on media literacy / media skills but haven’t shared it, go and share it now!
Opinions are shaped by the media
Sami Marttinen's Opinions are shaped by the media game addresses the role of media and offers a challenge even to the more experienced media content consumers. The game was made in 2016, but its theme is still very timely. The game is in Finnish, but I translated again a couple of the exercises of the game for you to get an idea, what kind of questions it contains.
Marttinen created Opinions are shaped by the media for year 9 of Anttila School in Lohja. The game was used in class and played in groups. The game and the topics were discussed together at the end of the lesson. Discussing the exercises with the class is very important to do after playing games with Seppo, wrapping up the game this way gives the students a better understanding of what the goal of the game was and if they reached it. It also marks a clear ending to the game and gives them a chance to ask questions that came up during the game.
Marttinen’s game includes exercises in which students are asked to compare titles from different sources, discuss the pros and cons of politicians' use of social media, and to think about propaganda. Very versatile and hot topics indeed!
The importance of media literacy
Nowadays all you have to do is open twitter and you understand why media literacy is such an important skill. And I think that as long as Wikipedia is the first place where people head to when looking up information, source criticism has to be taught from a young age.
On Facebook people are constantly sharing articles that are full of wrong information, without questioning the source or motives of the article. Everyone does mistakes, but deliberately shared false news circulate constantly in the Internet and one needs to be aware of it. Social media influencers also play an increasingly important role in conveying information. That is why it is good for adults to keep up with who is popular on Instagram at the moment.
It is known that the older age groups are used to trusting the printed word, thus they are more prone to believe false news than the younger age groups. However, that does not mean that young people don’t need to be instructed on the ever-changing and complex media landscape they face every day. It is very important to discuss with children and the youth the use of media and the challenges and threats that the media pose. But at the same time, it is also important to remember that the media today also offer an enormous amount of opportunities!
Let's just remember a few, short questions: what, why, who and to whom?