Accra, Ghana//-Students at Ghana’s Association International School (AIS) are learning to untangle disinformation to become safe and informed digital citizens.
AIS Ghana serves the local Ghanaians and expatriate communities within Ghana, educating students from ages 2 (pre-kindergarten) to 18 (12th Grade).
With 86 per cent of Internet users admitting that they have been duped by fake news, and a study by MIT scholars showing that false news spreads significantly faster on Twitter than real news doesthe school has become increasingly aware of the importance of teaching its students how to untangle disinformation on the Internet and differentiate fact from fiction.
As the head of its IT department, Jacqui Borteye, explained, “the Internet is an incredibly powerful, wonderful tool. It has connected the world like never before. It’s brilliant, but it can also be a misfortune.
Teaching students media literacy (using critical thinking skills to analyse media messages) is more essential now than ever. Not only will this help stem the flow of misinformation, it will also help them become more informed and safe digital citizens.”
An important part of the students’ preparation for university and future careers includes the ability to take clear, accurate notes with references to credible citations, so AIS Ghana has been using Britannica Digital to help the students learn to differentiate fact from fiction.
Borteye continued: “The Britannica website provides carefully curated information from more than 250 years of historical and current content from across the world.
It comes in various formats from e-journals, videos, images and news clips all with links to credible sources for the students’ citations. It is an ideal collection of content to help our students cut through the noise and discover factual information in engaging ways.”
The students start the lessons on a particular topic or theme by researching Britannica Digital for relevant information. Once they have done this, they then access the broader Internet including Wikipedia, and start to explore the plethora of other information out there on the same topic. From here they can compare and contrast the information, providing a lively discussion and debate on what is factual and what is not.
Borteye concluded, “We don’t step into political or religious beliefs. Our school is founded on firm Christian values but the foundations of our teaching are based on respecting other religions and beliefs and to recognize and be tolerant of each other’s views.
It is only once we can understand what is purely an opinion, and what is dangerously inaccurate or misleading that we can start to demonstrate empathy, ethical behaviour and integrity.”
African Eye Report