A investigadora do ICNOVA – INOVA Media Lab participará de 24 a 25 de maio de 2019 na Conference on Children’s Online Worlds, Digital Media and Digital Literacy em Atenas, Grécia, com a comunicação “Children playing with the news: an experiment and intervention with digital gaming”.
While journalism struggles with problems such as the lack of trust in traditional news companies, an information crisis and news avoidance; news media literacy education contributes to raise the user’s knowledge about how the news are constructed and disseminated. Several scholars have recognized that it is crucial to start educating about the news and the media from an early age (FrauMeigs, O’Neill, Soriani, & Tomé, 2017). The research also shows that some of the best educative experiences with children start from their own interest (Hobbs, 2010) and use playful approaches (Vygotsky, 1999). On the other hand, children are accessing the Internet and videogames at earlier ages (Ponte, Simões, Batista, Jorge, & Sofia, 2017). However, news media literacy education for young children has been overlooked by academics (Livingstone & Haddon, 2009). Additionally, very few studies examine digital games that educate young children about the news. In fact, most of the literature about newsgames focus on the uses made by an older population, like teenagers, college students or adults (Bogost, Ferrari, & Schweizer, 2010; Aayeshah, 2012).
In this study we built a prototype that educates children about the news based on a formative evaluation of nine digital platforms (removed for blind review, 2018) and the results obtained during a pilot study (remove for blind review, 2018). We tested the prototype among a group of 50 individuals from 7 to 10 years old, through a mixed methods approach, with a stronger emphasis on a qualitative methodology, based on questionnaires, field observation and interviews held during workshops The main research question was how do digital platforms propose to educate children about the news and how can news literacy education in digital media be improved? We examined game mechanics, storytelling and educative formats as well as the competencies put forward, the levels of engagement and what exactly were children learning while playing with the news.
Results suggest that there is a great potential in the use of simulation and real stories to teach children about the news. Also, data implies that, when educating children about the news in a digital environment, it is important to achieve a balance between elements of fun and of learning. Not surprisingly, results suggest that children may learn practical skills about the news faster than abstract concepts. Even so, data also indicates that children are curious to learn more about abstract concepts like journalism ethics and the idea of truth. Finally, another conclusion is that while the use of digital platforms to teach about the news presents many advantages, the learning process may be expanded when there is also human interaction in connection with the digital.
Guidelines to improve digital platforms to educate children about the news are included at the end of this paper, as well as recommendations for future studies.