As global citizens entrenched in a digital and thus interconnected world, we are now officially in uncharted territory. Just as mobile video shared through social media applications promised to disrupt oppression with the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the onset of video deep fakes has the potential to threaten democracy and re-shape history.
Although photo manipulation is known to be a common practice within mass communications culture, whether it be Vogue or Instagram, video altering was more nuanced and difficult. This is no longer the case. Now, without a Hollywood blockbuster budget, amateur mobile technology has now arisen that is alarming in its Deep Fake effectiveness.
Whereas “Fake News” littered on Facebook and grass-roots websites impacted the 2016 United States election, imagine the potential of Deep Fake videos shaping the Canadian election. Nothing is impossible. As shared in the article titled “How Deep Fakes could impact the 2019 Canadian election” Nicole Bogart asserts that Deep Fake videos “tests the fundamental belief of “seeing is believing.”
As such, we educators must teach their students to really see. Start with this.
Teachers Note: The goal is to decipher students critical awareness of Fake News. As a form of “Assessment for Learning” this opening task will provide you with formational observation. What do students know?
Using chart paper and in groups suitable for your classroom size and learners, have students address the following question:
- Brainstorm the good and bad of social media. How do you think social media is positive? How do you think social media is negative?
Importantly, walk the classroom and engage in small group conversation with students. Support this structuring and sharing of critical reflections and ideas.
Once the group brainstorming is completed, allow for whole-group sharing.
From all of the ideas shared, present or build upon the idea of Fake News.
Teachers Note: The goal is to build upon students’ critical awareness of social media. As a form of “Assessment as Learning,” the goal is for students to define Fake News.
With access to the Internet and an internet connected device, have students in small groups define Fake News.
- Where did this term come from? Why has it become disruptive?
Once Fake News is defined, have students research Video Deep Fakes. In researching Video Deep Fakes, have students address the following:
- Why are video Deep Fakes a concern in today’s digital society?
As a whole group, have students share ideas with the class. Below is a video Deep Fake that went viral a few months ago.
Teachers Note: The goal is to have students show their critical understanding of Deep Fake videos within a cultural context. This activity will provide an “Assessment of Learning” opportunity.
Individually or in groups suitable for your classroom size, have students read the following article “Social Media Users Entranced, Concerned by Chinese Face-Swapping Deep Fake App” published by Time Magazine.
After reading, have the student or students create an infographic that summarizes the article, defines Deep Fake videos and presents critical concerns.
Students can use such graphic design programs such as Canva, Adobe Photoshop or go non-tech and illustrate the infographic.
Here is a working rubric that can be revised for classroom use or you may like to co-construct the rubric with your students.
For more, read my article titled, Media Literacy in the Deep Fake Era, published in OECTA’s Catholic Teacher Magazine.