A Moscow school has created a class that teaches students about fake news and social media as part of a campaign to improve social media literacy among young people.
The program was developed by the Institute for the Social and Cultural Development (ISD), a nonprofit organization that promotes education for disadvantaged children, to teach students about how to recognize social media and the ways in which fake news can affect the public.
The course was first presented at the International Academy of Social Studies’ (IASS) International Conference on the Future of Education (IGFA) in February.
The IADS says it will expand the program to schools across Russia, but there are no plans to launch a pilot program in Russia.ISD head Pavel Chekhov told the Al Jazeera that the program aims to teach Russian speakers about fake media and social networks.
“We hope that the teachers will learn about the ways that social media influence the minds of the children,” he said.
“I think that social networks, when they become the source of information for our society, can influence our children, our society and society in general.”
The IADs curriculum includes topics including “Social Media as a Tool for the Future” and “Social Networks and Fake News”.
The program is also available in Russian and English.
Social media, or the Internet, is the online activity of sharing information, photos, videos and other content.
Its popularity in Russia has exploded in recent years with the Kremlin pushing social media to boost voter turnout.
The country has the largest social media user base in the world, with some 1.3 billion people using social media platforms.ISd hopes to use the social media curriculum to promote the value of social media in Russia, Chekhove said.
Social networks are an important tool in our daily lives, Chekhamov said.
“We want to help the Russian people to understand the importance of social networks in their lives and in the lives of their children,” she said.ISDs online video course also has lessons about media literacy, which will help teachers understand how to understand social media’s role in society.
“What we are teaching them is not about ‘Fake news’, but about social media,” Chekhova said.
“What is important is that the students understand how social media affect the social and political system, the economy and the social life of society.”
The class, which is aimed at elementary and middle school students, will be taught by Russian-speaking teachers.
The curriculum includes lessons on Russian media, news, politics and history.
Social Media, or social networks are the online activities of sharing news, photos and videos, often of people in the public eye.
The volume of social content on social media is rapidly growing, and experts say it is growing at an unprecedented rate.
According to figures from Google Trends, social media content increased by 60 percent in 2016 compared to 2015.