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Tech Shock: Faith Rogow on media literacy

In this week’s episode of the Tech Shock podcast, Vicki and Geraldine discuss media literacy with Dr Faith Rogow — founding President of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, author, and collaborator with Google’s ‘Be Internet Awesome’ programme.

It’s an inescapable fact that media plays a significant part in our lives; it impacts us all in some way. Faith Rogow thinks it’s a myth that children can be kept away from screens and digital devices if you’re using them yourself. If “media is a part of their lives from the beginning” then a media literacy education needs to be too. 

Rogow maintains that media literacy isn’t about getting young people to distrust everything they see. What’s important is equipping children with the right conceptual tools to sift fact from fiction, so they can learn to navigate online spaces confidently. 

Rogow suggests that many children fail to “see social media as media”, when this happens it’s difficult for young people to apply analytical skills to social platforms. It’s not just about establishing the right habits, but about teaching children where those habits apply.

Rogow believes that while screen-use can produce some negative consequences, sensationalist headlines often convince parents that all use is harmful — something that isn’t true. Vicki echoes this sentiment, suggesting that there are many “positive opportunities for people” in the online world, providing they can develop their media literacy. 

Rogow concludes that we’re still debating how best to teach media literacy, but that not yet having all the answers should not be something which puts us off – “we need to be experimenting” with solutions.

Be Internet Legends

Be Internet Legends is a free UK education programme from Google for primary pupils aged 7-11. It teaches the skills and behaviours to thrive in an online world with curriculum activities supporting Online Media Literacy.

These include spotting online risks, scams and disinformation, understanding how different media communicate and how our own messages can carry many interpretations. Download a free curriculum pack here.

The programme also offers teacher training, covering Online Media Literacy within the curriculum and how to teach it. Register for a workshop here

Listen to Series 3, Episode 15 to hear the full podcast.   

Stream and download now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and other platforms.