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Teaching in the Time of Social Media Misinformation

Education Horizon grant to empower students through social media literacy

Generations Z and Alpha are growing up in the time of TikTok and Snapchat, consistently exposed to a rapid flow of information via social media (and not all of it is kind or true).

A University of Southern Queensland multidiscipline research team has been awarded an $82,000 Education Horizon grant to explore ways to empower young people to make sense of fact and fiction when online.

Associate Professor Susan Hopkins, a world class expert in digital pedagogies, youth, gender and media studies, will lead the group of skilled researchers in the fields of criminology, psychology, counselling and education.

“Given the immense presence of social media in modern society, navigating it safely has become a key literacy requirement,” Associate Professor Hopkins said.

“Our research will investigate how social media literacy training can potentially be weaved into classroom pedagogies to help middle school learners become active, informed, critical agents in a digital world.”

Associate Professor Hopkins said young people were increasingly forming individual and social identities through largely unregulated discourses on social media platforms.

“These conversations with friends and strangers often circulate around socio-cultural issues such as mental health, gender (non)conformity and equity, and discrimination,” she said.

“However social media is inundated with disinformation, mal-information, misinformation, conspiracy theories, hate speech and other potential online harms leading to learning disruptions.

“This project aims to address these issues by designing a conceptual framework of intersectional pedagogy to instil critical social media literacies.

“The project will also deliver a toolkit of practice-oriented strategies and resources illustrating the application of the framework through interdisciplinary case studies.”

The research team includes Dr Annette Brömdal (gender, sexuality and education), Dr Lauren Humby (criminology), Dr Naomi Ryan (marginalised youth, career development and wellbeing) and Professor Jill Lawrence (transition pedagogy and transcultural communication).

The Queensland Government’s Education Horizon grant scheme funds high-quality local research aligning with government priorities and the Department of Education priority research themes.


people outside springfield on ipad
The University of Southern Queensland multidiscipline research team has been awarded an $82,000 Education Horizon grant to explore ways to empower young people to make sense of fact and fiction when online.