February 21, 2024

As dozens of Cupertino excessive schoolers strolled into class one January morning they have been met with a picture projected on the board — Donald Trump praying alone in a church.

“Is there something unusual in regards to the picture?” prompted journalism trainer Julia Satterthwaite.

The category instantly seen the previous president had an additional finger on his proper hand. The AI-generated picture of presidential piety had been making the rounds on the web after Trump not too long ago shared it on his Fact Social account.

As college students broke into small teams, they mentioned the deeper ramifications of any such computer-generated picture — and different manipulated pictures they could see on-line. What work do residents have to do to search out the reality? May faux information and pictures presumably impression the 2024 presidential election?

Welcome to Media Literacy Monday at Monta Vista Excessive — coming this 12 months to a California classroom close to you.

The category is a preview of a brand new regulation that requires colleges throughout the state to show media literacy to all college students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Meeting Invoice 873 directs California’s Tutorial High quality Fee so as to add the content material into 4 core topics — English language arts, science, arithmetic, historical past and social science — the subsequent time curriculum frameworks are revised.

“Media literacy might be essentially the most important talent that our highschool college students want proper now as AI turns into extra prevalent,” stated Satterthwaite, a trainer for greater than 19 years.

As soon as she realized her college students have been spending hours every day on social media, Satterthwaite began crafting her personal curriculum composed of Ted Talks, documentaries in regards to the risks of social media and articles about TikTok’s algorithm. She’s since added AI-enhanced pictures to the combination. The mission is to equip college students with suggestions and instruments to suppose critically about what they see and listen to on-line. Children additionally learn to be higher digital residents as they create their very own content material.

Assemblymember Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, wrote AB 873 after witnessing widespread COVID-19 vaccine and election fraud misinformation flow into throughout the online. It handed with bipartisan assist and no main opposition from outdoors teams, and took impact Jan. 1.

“Massive segments of society actually believed in these lies that unfold so rapidly and so simply on-line,” he stated.

Analysis reveals many college students battle to acknowledge the variations between truth and fiction on-line. In a 2019 Stanford College examine, 96% of excessive schoolers surveyed judged a local weather change web site solely on its presentation and didn’t think about why its backers — the fossil gas trade — may have an effect on the location’s credibility. And 52% believed {that a} grainy video claiming to indicate poll stuffing in the course of the 2016 Democratic primaries was actual proof of voter fraud, although a web-based search would have produced articles debunking the video.

“We’ve given them the instruments and no steerage. So who will get harm? All of them get harm. The ladies are harm. The boys are harm. It adjustments their lives,” stated Erin McNeill, CEO and Founding father of Media Literacy Now, a nopartisan nationwide group that advocated for the brand new regulation.

The extra youngsters are inundated with on-line content material, the likelier they’re to develop psychological well being struggles, expertise cyber bullying and even come throughout teams in search of to radicalize younger minds, McNeill stated.

California is barely the fourth state, following Delaware, New Jersey and Texas, to mandate such instruction for Okay-12 college students. However the rollout into school rooms shall be sluggish.

Many college districts within the Bay Space, together with Hayward Unified and Fremont Unified, stated they’re ready for statewide directions to information the teachings. In line with the California Division of Schooling, the Tutorial High quality Fee has no timeframe on when up to date curriculum frameworks could also be launched.

Nonetheless, some college districts have began to combine media literacy classes into school rooms sooner.

Dublin Unified in Alameda County this fall will provide a brand new highschool elective course titled Media Literacy: The best way to Belief What You Learn and Hear, whereas Jefferson Union Excessive College District in San Mateo County intends to depend on KQED’s curriculum instruments.

At East Union Excessive College District in San Jose, 22 academics gathered over the summer season for a daylong coaching session dedicated to media literacy growth. The occasion, held by the Santa Clara Workplace of Schooling, provided employees free assets and curriculum to assist construct classes.

Tara Holcomb, a college librarian, left the session hopeful the curriculum may result in much less misinformation and faux information on the planet, in addition to empower youngsters to change into accountable media navigators, one thing she’s already seen college students specific curiosity in.

“They perceive the significance of being actually crucial about what data they’re consuming and discerning between respected sources,” Holcomb stated. “I feel it’s making them cease and pause and actually take into consideration what data they’re consuming.”

Not all dad and mom are on board with the plan. Lance Christensen, a father or mother activist and the Vice President of Schooling Coverage on the California Coverage Heart, a conservative public coverage suppose tank, stated that with out statewide curriculum or correct implementation, many instructors shall be ill-equipped to deal with troublesome conversations.