How do you teach kids about media literacy in the modern age?

Forward by Laura Baker, CyberWyoming. Music is a great way to create awareness. High school chemistry students download rap songs to learn the periodic table. Why should cybersecurity be any different? Here’s a great story about a local theater group learning about media literacy in the modern age.

By Guest Writer Deborah Kassner, Director of the Laramie Children’s Musical Theater Workshop @Studio 253

Cyber-bullies. “Alternative facts.”  Email scams.  Journalism biases.  

How do you teach kids (and adults) about media literacy in the modern age?  How do you make the lessons both relevant and fun?  

That was the task before me when I wrote “The Faux News Blues,” our 2017 musical theater production at Studio 253.  No one wants to appear silly, or behind the times, or out of touch.  But many of us have forgotten how to be savvy information consumers.  Some of us never learned.  

So I wrote a story that brought together a class of journalism students, their grandparents, and a band of perplexed extra-terrestrials to tackle these confounding issues head on. 

Were the lessons learned? 

Teddy, one of our cast members, had this to say:  “It can really pay off to look at everything you see online with a skeptical eye and to fact check everything you see. Even if it takes more work, it could save you from a ton of headaches down the line.”  

And as we say in the song from the finale, “Just beware, and take care, and be sure of what you share – when you’re posting in the universe!” 

“The Faux News Blues” is as relevant today as ever, as we all continue to navigate the perils and potholes of social media, advertising ploys, and misinformation campaigns.  Both the songs and the script make excellent teaching tools, and will soon be available for licensing via Act Two Publishing. 

For information on how you can use elements of “The Faux News Blues” for your classrooms or theaters, contact me directly:  Deborah.lcmtw@gmail.com

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