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Twitter partners with UNESCO for media and information literacy

At the beginning of UNESCO’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2019, Twitter launched a new handbook for educator, titled ‘Teaching and Learning Twitter’. 

Twitter mentioned in a blog that “We have always championed the free flow of information and people’s right to free expression online. These complementary commitments intersect when we discuss media and information literacy.” 

The handbook is easy to read, informative and fun and primarily aims to help educators equip younger generations with media literacy skills, in turn enabling them to ask the right questions about content they engage with online and critically analyse news and information they engage with on the service. 

The resource contains best practice guidelines on media literacy from UNESCO, and also a reading list curated by UNESCO’s program specialists, which is intended to guide educators through current teaching literature on this topic. 

To ensure it has a wide global reach, it will be initially translated into 9 different languages – English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Japanese, Swedish, and Hindi – with future plans to translate it for other countries. 

Twitter claims that they will be distributing the resource to schools by leveraging their many partnerships across the world. 

The digital classroom 

The Handbook also contains tips for educators and parents who want to unlock the benefits of Twitter as a learning tool in the classroom or at home, offering a helpful blend of theory, lesson plans, and case studies. 

Taking a holistic view of what it means to be able to be a good digital citizen, the handbook also contains sections which cover online safety, dealing with cyber bullying as an educator, and learning how to control one’s digital footprint. 

UNESCO and Twitter’s partnership 

The resource is a product of Twitter and UNESCO’s ongoing 18-month global partnership, during which time Twitter supported NGOs working on media and information literacy through their Ads For Good programme and supported their #MILClicks programme with a range of on-service activity, such as the serialisation of content from @MILClicks. 

Some of Twitter’s other activities include: 

  • Launching a dedicated emoji with accompanying hashtags #GlobalMILWeek, #ThinkBeforeSharing, and #ThinkBeforeClicking.
  • Partnering with the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to support Media Literacy Week in the United States using the hashtag #MediaLitWk.
  • Offering Ads For Good grants to NGOs in @UNESCO’s network to help raise awareness for their work.

Colin Crowell, VP of Public Policy, Government and Corporate Philanthropy at Twitter, remarked, “At Twitter, we are hopeful that this Handbook will have a tangible, beneficial impact on students across the world by helping educators impart critical information and skills to younger generations about how to navigate an increasingly complicated media environment. We deeply treasure our global partnership with UNESCO on media and information literacy and this project strongly benefits from UNESCO’s expertise in this area. We look forward to continued discussion and collaboration with UNESCO on how media and information literacy can be a defence – particularly in our young people – against disinformation and political propaganda around the world.” 

Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO, said, “Polarised information is driving a rise in hate and discrimination and is often amplified by inauthentic and malicious activity, while disinformation is compromising democracy and development. Promoting media and information literacy learning through social media platforms, such as this Twitter and UNESCO collaboration, could be far-reaching if systematically implemented and sustained.” 

He further said, “This is only the start of Twitter and UNESCO working together, we can expand our cooperation to give more impetus to promoting media and information literate citizenry in online spaces.”

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