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April 2020

Navigating the changing media landscape with increased discernment

This insightful and informative piece was excerpted from an larger article from IREX, a global development and education organization. While Idea the information is directed primarily to students and teachers, in this day and age, these are essential steps for all those who wish to hone their skills for navigating the changing media landscape.

To read the full article visit

Media literacy needs to expand its scope to be truly effective

If you and your students are feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. The complexity of creating and consuming information has radically increased, but most approaches to teaching media literacy have not kept pace with the times.

In the information-flooded world we live in today, media literacy needs to have a different scope to be truly effective. Through practical classroom activities, Learn to Discern emphasizes the following principles:

  • Engage your analytical mind and dig in for the long haul. There is no one technological tool that will clean up your algorithm searches or your social media feeds. There is no “simple way to spot fake news.”
  • Take personal responsibility. It’s easy to point to others who need this type of education. However, as human beings, we are all susceptible to manipulative information. Media literacy is not just for “them”—it’s for all of us. We all have a role to play.
  • Sharpen your critical thinking. Improve your ability to identify markers of misinformation and manipulation. Check multiple sources, engage in practical media analysis, learn and practice visual and textual verification.
  • Check your biases. We all have them. What truths might yours blind you to? Do you only seek out information that confirms your beliefs, or are you challenging your own ideas? Are you reacting with outrage, or engaging in dialogue?
  • Step back and reflect on your own information habits. What do you consume? How much time do you spend on digital information? How much of what you interact with is something you consciously chose to do? Does your behavior reflect your values?
  • Strengthen your emotional resilience by defusing your own responses. When you come across information that provokes a strong reaction in you, pause in the moment. Identify your emotional response. Take back your rational brain before you act on the information.
  • Learn and improve. Continually reflect on your media literacy practice. What can be improved? What does the evidence show?
  • Share what you learn. Be a media literacy leader by teaching others the skills you learn.