New media literacy class takes aim at misinformation


Evelyn Esek

Baldwin High School serves the Baldwin, Whitehall, and Baldwin Township communities.

Raven Spano and Rachael Bonneau

With the increased spread of misinformation in the digital age, Baldwin’s new media literacy course aims to help students recognize factual information and analyze media biases.

History teacher Adam Foote and English teacher Jason Dolak are co-teaching the class next school year. Their differing academic backgrounds can help teach different aspects of media literacy to students, they said.

As people are more overwhelmed with more forms and varieties of media, “discerning between what is real and what’s not is becoming harder and harder,” Foote said.

The semester-long class is open to students in grades 10 through 12. It adds to the propaganda unit taught in the Honors English 9 classes. 

“Being able to dive a little deeper into that concept and bring out a lot of the issues that are so prevalent in today’s society is really important,” Dolak said.

One project they are excited about is having students create a type of information, and then for their classmates to detect any inaccuracies by applying the skills covered in the course.

“We are really going to be diving into misinformation and how information is presented to people with the rise of social media,” Dolak said.

They are also hoping to incorporate current events into the curriculum as they surfaced. Library Media Specialist Brigetta Del Re is excited that this course was approved.

“Many times students turn to social media for their news and as a result, I think they can be catfished into believing a lot of lies,” Del Re said. 

With course sign-ups approaching, neither Dolak nor Foote are sure of how interested students will be in taking the Media Literacy class.

“I am afraid the word ‘literacy’ is going to scare people away,” Foote said. “But it’s not just going to be about reading and analyzing things. It’s going to be about figuring out what you’re seeing, why you’re seeing it, and what its purpose is.”

The teachers are hoping that Friday’s electives fair will encourage students to take the class.