Fact-checking as tool to teach critical multi-literacy to future voters

Media met literacy in Sarajevo!

Media literacy professionals from all over Europe were gathered in Sarajevo in September 2017 to explore the huge challenges of our rapidly changing media world.

The founder of the Faktabaari, Mikko Salo, and the Director of the French-Finnish school of Helsinki, were invited to present the  #media-literacy to future voters-project in the  Media Meets Literacy -conference  organised by Evens foundation.

#media-literacy to future voters-project

The Finnish school reform raises multiliteracy as one of the core elements in order to educate active citizens capable of acting in our complex societies.

During the school year 2016 – 2017 an unconventional collaboration took place between Faktabaari, the award-winning Finnish Fact-checking service, and French Finnish school.

The basic idea of the collaboration was to adapt the proved fact-checking approach and methods used by Faktabaari into the education field linked to the curriculum of the school in various subjects (mother tongue, history, social studies). The goal was to create a joint approach for critical medialiteracy skills with the objective to test tools and learn debunking dis-information and false claims

14-year old students received information about the principles of journalism and adapted key concepts on fact-checking (code) and disinformation by Faktabaari.  Students explored election materials applying the adapted fact-checking methods. They practiced question making and answering through a mock-interview panel and they participated in the real election panel with real candidates and practiced fact-checking activities in real life situation!

The basic principles of the fact-checking method adapted for schools are relatively simple:

  1. Choose election relevant & documented claim to be fact-checked
  2. Identify: who, where, when and what said?
  3. Go to primary sources – 2 independent (help from teacher / school librarian) / use tools
  4. Write fact-check proposal for review
  5. Present written fact-check to your class for judgement (“True, “False” or “50/50”)
  6. Results can be published (school paper, website, video, FaktabaariEDU blog)
  7. Share the fact-check in your social networks – build trust

The outcome of the pilot project was very positive. Students took a real interest in the local election and they learned how the local municipality works. They got really active young participants in the local debate. They were able to verify themselves if the news/claims were true or not. They learned to check the sources and learned where to find help.

Through the process they learned also to adapt the fact checking methods in other areas e.g. to the social media news – thinking-twice-before-sharing-approach!

In the school year 2017-2018 the pilot project will be widening to concern also primary pupils and upper secondary students.

We are convinced that fact-checking as approach vaccines students against populism and empower their critical thinking without political bias and it provides students general tools and skills to survive in the digital environment including social media and visuals and provides students with some internet-literacy skills!

You can find my presentation here: “Curriculum and Teaching Critical Skills in Schools – MIL session”

The presentation of Mikko Salo was titled: “Fact-checking as tool to teach critical media-literacy to future voters & vaccination against populism”

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