If we are talking about media education now more than ever, it is no coincidence. After all, we live in an era where we are immersed in an unprecedented flow of information all day long. If some information is more truthful than others, recognizing the right information is not easy and requires some media awareness. During the Week of Press and Media, the subject was the subject of a panel discussion.
Alexandre Chenette, teacher and educational advisor, Ève Tessier-Bouchard, director and producer of youth content for Les Coops de l’information, Karen Prevost-Sorbe, academic coordinator for CLEMI in France, and Gilles Van Kote, deputy director of the newspaper Le Wereld , had the opportunity to discuss the topic. The web conference, hosted by André Lavoie, freelance journalist, was presented by the Quebec Center for Media and Information Education (CQÉMI) as part of Press and Media Week.
From the outset, panelists agreed that “informing means navigating a complex jungle” and that “it’s very easy to get lost without the right tools.” In addition, learning to be informed is a long-term process and must be taught in a positive, empathetic and highly tolerant manner by taking the time to listen to differing opinions and ideas.
What are the tools to find, sort and include information?
Schools should play an important role in children’s media awareness. They spend most of their time there from an early age. According to the panelists, this is the best place to broach the subject of information and thus increase their awareness of good information management. This isn’t about telling kids what or how to think, but about tips and techniques to recognize a trusted source, truthful information, and thus fight the plague of 21.e century in terms of information: fake news†
At the same time, it is impossible to deny the influence of social networks on our lives and that of children. According to a study conducted for the media La Croix in January 2021, in France 66% of people under 35 say that the internet and social networks are their main source of information on a daily basis. In Quebec, a third (33%) of adults in Quebec use social networks as their main source of news, and the percentage rises to 67% among 18- to 24-year-olds.
In this sense, the issue of media awareness takes another turn and becomes: how is it possible to increase the presence of traditional media in social networks, while avoiding misinformation and the spread of fake news? How do you bring out more credible media in this current mix of social media news feeds?
Karen Prevost-Sorbe then talks about the importance of knowing and understanding the concept of visual literacy when it comes to extracting information from visual media such as Tik Tok.
What is Visual Literacy?
Visual literacy means that each image evokes an understanding in everyone based on their previous experiences and knowledge. To awaken to visual literacy, according to the panelist, we must take the time to return to the essence of the image, to understand what it evokes in both the youngest and the older. It is by opening the debate, by exchanging and sharing that this awakening will take place.
Let’s not wait for another global pandemic or another war to trigger an endless stream of information to teach children to select information, the panelists said. This must be done in advance, because media awareness raising is a lengthy process, which must be done preventively, which must be carried out before an internationally known event. Children must have access to the necessary means to distance themselves from current events.
It is possible to view the discussion: