ALEX pilot media literacy training on personalisation algorithms

Algorithms Exposed partnered with Medialab SETUP and KOisNieuwgierig to develop a media literacy training module devoted to educating high school pupels in personalisation algorithms and its politics. It draws on practical excersizes, engaging questions and insights from academic research. It will be piloted soon and is disseminated and embedded by the Dutch Informatica Actief foundation.

About the training module
This is a learning module on the subject of online content manipulation. It is the closing chapter in a larger series on the social implications of new technologies, aimed at (upper) secondary education (age 15-18, also referred to as ‘bovenbouw’ in the Dutch educational system). The module helps students understand that suggested content online – and how this content is represented – is different for everybody. In addition to a more classical approach of media literacy, which typically focuses on risks of online behaviour, this module enables them to grasp the mechanics behind personalisation phenomena in practice. Pupils learn about personalization algorithms (‘recommended for you’) and how to recognize its practices on a variety of social platforms. The module also provides an introduction to the ALEX research project and its preliminary findings. Emphasis is placed on stimulating critical thinking and providing the arguments to partake in the debate on new technologies, social implications and ethics (i.e. in terms of echo chambers). Following the path of Netflix’s personalized thumbnails, the second part of this module focuses on the future of personalized clickbait. Students are challenged to envision a world in which algorithms not only suggest specific content, but also create new content (i.e. in terms of screenwriting).