The SMaRT-EU – Social Media Resilience Toolkit – project is an intergenerational project providing tools, suggestions and resources to train young people, older people and also the intermediaries who work with them. In order to inform and develop the intermediaries who work with these groups the project team decided to create a short blended learning course on misinformation, fake news, algorithms, pedagogic attitudes, etc.
Before starting the development of the course we decided that it was important that participants could take the course at their own pace, that it was free to access by all, that participants should be free to follow only part of the course – choosing the topic that is most interesting for them, and that we should provide the possibility to quickly get some theoretical concepts and/or to dive deeper providing extra exercises and tools.
The content of the course relies on many of the other outputs and lessons learned from the SMaRT-EU project, as well as the experience and knowledge of all partner organisations; for example the workshops and focus groups conducted with educators, youngsters and elderly people. You can also find some of the products that were developed during the project in the course, there are booklets on fact checking, expert interviews and a repository of existing tools.
We created 5 modules in the course:
- “Introduction” where we briefly describe the topics that will be covered in the course, how the course works and which partners created the course.
- “What is fake news and why do people believe it” where we explain some theoretical concepts on fake news, and equally as important we explain why people believe news that is not trustworthy. We also put the participants to work and suggest a discussion activity they can do with the public with whom they work.
- “What is the role of social media” where we dive into the mechanisms behind search engines and social media platforms. We also challenge the participants to try some things for themselves.
- “Different approaches for different groups” where we discuss points of attention when working with elderly people or youngsters or intergenerationally.
- “Our own power and responsibility” where we emphasise that each and every one of us can have an impact and play a role in this story.
We hope that the blended learning course will empower intermediaries to address these topics with the groups they work with in order to create a sustainable impact on the media literacy skills of European citizens.
You can access the blended learning course as well as all other outcomes for free from the SMaRT-EU project website.
Alenka Le Compte, Mediawijs, Belgium