By Mélody Alasset - Agence Science-Presse (www.sciencepresse.qc.ca)
What is called "media and information literacy" will have a better place in the future Quebec Culture and Citizenship course. Where does the fight against misinformation fit into this?
Currently being tested in some 30 pilot elementary and secondary schools, this is the course that will officially replace the Ethics and Religious Culture (ECR) course in all Quebec schools at the start of the 2023 school year. This new program has three objectives: "to prepare young Quebecers to exercise their citizenship, to aim for the recognition of self and others, and to pursue the common good.
"The skills developed will lead students to look critically at the information they work with," explains Mathieu Lizotte, an ECR teacher who is part of the team writing the new program at the Ministry of Education.
Among the changes planned, digital media literacy is obviously a major focus. But it's important to remember that the term "media" encompasses advertising, journalistic information and Internet use - and the latter will involve young Quebecers in issues such as online self-representation, cyberaddiction and cyberbullying.
According to the draft curriculum available online, upper elementary students will be introduced to "Internet Information Retrieval" (in grade 3), and "Information Reliability - Social Media" (in grade 4).e grade). In secondary school, certain skills, such as mobilizing relevant concepts, gathering information and establishing the relevance of the information used, will be developed through certain themes, such as "studying a cultural reality" (secondary 4).
As for misinformation, "even if there is an improvement compared to the old program on everything that is digital life, critical thinking in the face of the media, the place in the curriculum is still very weak," says David Santarossa, of the Institut de recherche sur le Québec (IRQ), co-author from a recent analysis of the program.
Santarossa, who also holds master's degrees in philosophy and in teaching ethics and religious culture, sees it as a challenge to fit these important elements into the schedules of already overworked teachers. "The intent is there in the curriculum, but will the hours be put in there, that's less certain."
Normand Baillargeon, an education specialist, salutes in a recent column in The duty "He also insists that "all of this has always been essential for citizenship, but it is more so today than ever before, in the age of social networks and polarization. He also insists on the fact that "all this has certainly always been essential for the exercise of citizenship, but it is more so than ever today, in the age of social networks and the polarization and enclosure in echo bubbles that they engender".
While 27 % of Quebec youth aged 6 to 12 and 59 % of 13 to 17 year olds spend an average of more than 10 hours per week on the Internet (according to a survey NETendances from the Academy of Digital Transformation published in 2021), could Quebec take a cue from Finland? This country of 5.5 million inhabitants has put the fight against misinformation at the heart of its educational program for several years.
Finland is often cited as a model because it is the European country with the highest media literacy index, according to the findings of the index media literacy for 2021 by the Open Society Institute's European Policy Initiative (EuPI) - Sofia, which assesses the potential for resilience to fake news in 35 European countries.
Link to the original article published on the Agence Science-Presse website.