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False Information Hunters from the age of ten

Author: Rose-Marie Farinella

Category: Teachers

Description

This project is tailored for elementary school students to give them intellectual self-defence tools to fight disinformation in two steps. The first is to teach them about the media: what is the difference between advertising and editorials? What are the different types of media? How do journalists work? At this stage children learn to differentiate between objectivity and subjectivity, opinions and facts. They also begin to become aware of some cognitive biases. The second step is to turn the pupils into "hoaxbusters", or web detectives, who can tell real and fake news apart.  
 
Children learn how search engines work, dissect pieces of information (by asking "who, what, where, when, why, how" the event took place), check the article's source and the reliability of the website, cross the information on several media, and learn to contextualise texts and images. For each piece of fake news identified, the children then wonder why it has been spread. They debate how to deal with hateful content and what it means to be a cybercitizen. At the end of each school year, they receive a "hoaxbuster diploma" in which they take an oath on their computer mouse: "Before forwarding a piece of information, I will always check it".
 
Videos on this project showing the pupils in action, while debating, reasoning, decoding texts and images, are online (with English subtitles), on "Hygiène Mentale", a YouTube channel specialised in critical thinking. Title of the episodes "Education aux medias" "EMI 1", "EMI 2", "EMI 3", "EMI 4".

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