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5 Useful Open Source Tools for Developing Media and Information Literacy

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

We strongly believe Media and Information Literacy (MIL) skills are life skills here at SALTO PI. If this article has caught your eye, chances are you are a youth worker, educator or facilitator working with and for young people. Maybe you just heard of the MIL concept, maybe it has interested you for a while but you have been overwhelmed with the sheer amount of different resources available on the matter. Maybe you are simply looking for engaging activities that would support learning by teaching for you and learning by doing for your youth.

Whatever the reason, you have come to the right place. Here are 5 practical and open source MIL tools to take your training event, workshop or discussion with young people to a whole other level.

  1. A movie night to remember

    In the age of fidgety fingers, habitual multitasking and smartphone addiction, it can be hard to try and stay present when consuming audiovisual media. This strategic movie night plan, along with the handout from Common Sense Education, is a great way to train youths to focus, analyse and be mindful media consumers. The prep time for you as a facilitator is no more than 30 minutes and the discussion-based format is pretty intuitive. This also poses an opportunity to choose a thought-provoking film and make sure your viewing group actually dives as deeply as the film maker intended. Win!

  2. The CYBERSAFE Toolkit – Empathy through improvisation

    The themes of non-consentual sharing of sexual images, exploitation, coercion and threats, sexualised bullying and unwanted sexualisation are important to discuss openly, but often difficult to navigate. The CYBERSAFE Toolkit, created by 9 partner organisations and co-funded by the REC program of EU, is a great helper for educators, youth workers or others facilitating workshops on the topic of online sexual harassment and safety for young people. The toolkit combines materials that are downloadable as a PDF and an online tool that encourages discussion through case studies and role play. The best part? The online tool has a nice guide for the facilitators too, so, instead of having to read into the topic for hours beforehand, you can learn by doing and get going right away!

  3. Gamification of news literacy skills

    The GetBadNews game is exceptional, because it actually delivers on interactivity that is often promised by MOOCs. As a facilitator, you have a handout to turn to for a quick and effortless overview of the activity, as well as two different versions to choose from depending on the age group you are working with. The only downside is that at least one device per team is needed. Make it more fun by competing against each other. Maybe even something sweet as a reward? The game will take approximately 20 minutes.

  4. CyberSec game

    It is time to awaken the detective spirit in your group! CyberSec is a card deck game based on real-life case studies, which are really helpful in bringing theoretical privacy and security problems into life. The facilitator or game master will be aware of the ‘right’ answers (no need to try and memorise them beforehand!) to the riddles. After each card, you will ask the players, “What happened?”, who will then ask yes or no questions. The goal is to find out the real story – and you will have some amazing discussions in the process, I promise. The deck is available as a downloadable PDF and, if you happen to be gathering over Zoom, you can try out the online version, which gives you a new card after each refresh. 

  5. Factitious game

    Can’t get your group to stop touching their screens? Here is a swipe-left-or-right game that actually teaches in such a subtle and playful way, you can hardly notice it. A device per group or competitor is needed, but it is a great way to start up conversations on what the thought processes were behind swiping left or right. That, in turn, enables participants to learn from their peers’ best practices, instead of heavily relying on theoretical concepts. Bonus? The points system is really good for awakening the competitive spirit in all of us.

Make sure to check out our resource pool for more tools! Whether you are looking for interactive learning materials, tools, lesson plans or content from the info library as background knowledge for yourself, our peer-review method for choosing resources and simple filtering system will get you what you are looking for more quickly. If you have created an open resource that you are willing to share, contact us!

Authors

Photo of Maia Klaassen
Maia Klaassen

Maia works as a Development Specialist at the University of Tartu and the main focus of her job, as well as her research, is in the field of information disorders. As research suggests, it is not possible to fight against the destabilising effects of the phenomena without involving media and information literacy. Taking this into account, Maia balances her research with Media and Information Literacy (MIL) projects, both as a project lead and a youth trainer. Her main focus for the coming years will be to find and highlight best-practice MIL training that could be taken from the formal and informal education system, which tend to cater to the young, but also to the whole population. She is currently coordinating the Baltic MIL network, in order to create a multinational hub to fight disinformation. She also heads the Estonian Digital Research Centre, which looks after the interactive information manipulation risk matrix at Disinfotest.org.