Learning Online Thinking Skills through an Offline Experience

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Digital Skills for Democracy - Assessing online information to make civic choices

Elections Canada, in collaboration with MediaSmarts, has launched a new educational resource for secondary schools. 

Digital Skills for Democracy is an offline activity that engages students in rich discussions about the role of online information in a democracy and the electoral process. 

During the activity, students work together and use simulation cards to consider different online information scenarios. They learn about five strategies for verifying information:

  • find the original
  • verify the source
  • check other information
  • read fact-checking articles
  • turn to places you trust

 

5 strategies

 

They apply these strategies to each scenario and track how their thinking changes as they uncover new information. Afterward, they reflect on the impact of false or misleading information in politics, and think about the importance of trustworthy information when making a decision on a political or electoral issue.

Because the activity takes places offline, students stay focused on the strategies for verifying information. These strategies will remain useful to them long after the activity is over. 

By combining their expertise in elections and media literacy, Elections Canada and MediaSmarts have designed a resource that uses media literacy to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and interest in elections and democracy.

Like Elections Canada’s other educational resources, Digital Skills for Democracy is inquiry-based, hands-on, interactive, student-centred, non-partisan and free. It’s also cross-curricular and can be used in the context of teaching language arts, media studies, information technology, social studies, and civics and citizenship.

Teachers can order the resource kit or download it from the Elections and Democracy website.