To mark UNESCO’s Global Media and Information Literacy week, on the theme of “Resisting Disinfodemic: Media and Information Literacy for Everyone and by Everyone,” we would like to take the opportunity to look back at some of the top posts by our colleagues which explore both the challenges and opportunities of promoting media and digital literacy as a potential solution to the problems posed by the spread of mis- and disinformation online.
In 2018, Professor Sonia Livingstone wrote a couple of posts addressing the sudden enthusiasm for media literacy among policy makers and others as they addressed thorny questions around internet regulation. In the first post, she highlighted the fact that although improving the public’s media literacy levels seemed to be an extremely popular solution to tackling ‘fake news’, those apparently embracing it were rarely clear about how they intended to act on this.
In the second, which remains one of our most-read posts today, Sonia went into more detail about the challenges associated with improving media literacy from an educational and a digital perspective, while noting the lack of evidence and the politics of media literacy which tends to over-burden the individual. She also offered three suggestions on how to move forward.
In its key report, the LSE’s Truth, Trust and Technology Commission (T3) recommended that digital literacy should be embedded within the mainstream curriculum and to follow up, Gianfranco Polizzi and Ros Taylor published a policy brief focused on this in June 2019. This post presenting the brief’s main points looks the five key challenges with current legislation, national curriculum and teaching resources for promoting digital literacy, and summarises the brief’s recommendation.
Our recent PhD graduate Gianfranco Polizzi looked here at some of the challenges that we face in promoting both children’s and adults’ media literacy and how different these are. Children are easily reachable as they are in school, so the challenges lie in changing the curriculum and in teacher training, whereas for adults not in formal education, the main challenge is how to reach them.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis and concerns around the related spread of misinformation, Gianfranco shared some practical tips on how to evaluate information online, based on his interviews with digital experts about what they themselves do. He concluded that the digital age “requires us to deploy a wealth of digital skills and knowledge in order to evaluate online content,” including functional skills and knowledge as well as a critical understanding of the digital environment.
This article represents the views of the author, and not the position of the Media@LSE blog, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science.