This is a complete lesson pack with a selection of exercises that takes 120 minutes in total. The purpose of the lesson is for the pupils to reflect on the opportunities and risks that exist today because we can choose the information and information channels. In the long run this may have consequences for democracy, because a functioning democracy works on the assumption that we have a common perspective of reality, that we are informed, that we have political abilities and that we can participate in the political discourse.
This section contains the following exercises:
Today we have the fantastic opportunity to both search for information and express our opinions, but also there are more options to reject information channels. Which information reaches you has an impact on how you view the world.
At first glance, the truth can appear to be a simple concept, yet in reality it can be very complex. Lying is something we learn very early on to be wrong. This exercise aims to reflect on the concept and what it involves.
Brainstorm the concept "truth" on the board.
Below are three statements that can be processed with the help of an assessment exercise.
It is not unusual that what we take for the truth is in fact something else. Some of these “truths” can get stuck in our common history and become hard to change. Even things said in the age in which we live could remain an accepted truth despite immediate denials. It can be interesting to ask why that is and whether it matters. The aim of the exercise is to examine the origin and function of accepted truths.
Below are some case examples that are based on “truths”.
Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Soviet Union between 1953 and 1964. In January 1960 he participated in a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York. During the meeting he became upset, took of his shoe and banged it on the table. Or did he really do that?
In the late 1980s, the then prime minister Olof Palme was asked: “What does a litre of milk cost?” He could not answer the question. There are some that maintain that his reaction was the answer “I have no clue about that.”
Per-Albin Hansson was the Prime Minister of Sweden during the World War ll. In a speech before war he said “...our preparedness is good.” Often it is interpreted that he referred to the military preparedness, but was this what he meant?
The Great Wall of China is one of the longest and most fantastic constructions on earth. The wall is so long that it can be seen with the naked eye from the moon.
The difference in what we take in in terms of information varies according to who we are. Age, gender, interests and education are all factors, even the type of network we have. Thirty years ago there was no Internet for private individuals and the number of TV channels were few compared to today. The majority saw the same things on TV and could relate to it. Today there are many factors that determine what information reaches us. The aim of this exercise is to discuss and investigate your own behaviour in today’s information society.
This exercise spans a week and must therefore start in one lesson and end in another. It is about comparing your media consumption with someone of another generation. This could be your mum or dad.
Document the following over three days, two weekdays and one weekend day:
Explain your results and discuss: How does the content you take in on social media influence your perception of reality? How can it affect society at large?