The Social Media Project
Curriculum for Critical Thinking About Social Media for Montana Schools
What is the Social Media Project?
The Social Media Project aims to provide resources for 8-12 grade teachers in Montana to help their students think critically about social media and the role it plays in our lives. Our curriculum is based on encouraging students to ask questions, critically reflect, and engage in respectful dialogue to explore challenging questions about the potential harms and benefits of the ways in which social media is used. In doing so, we also encourage students to consider what it is that makes us human, what is our relationship to technology, and how should we treat others.
We offer two kinds of resources:
- Lesson plans, videos, and other classroom materials that can be freely accessed and downloaded and
- Virtual expert facilitators who can lead a remote discussion with your students via Zoom or GoogleMeet.
Lesson Plans, Videos, and Classroom Materials
Introduction to Critical Thinking about Social Media:
An introduction into how to think critically and why we may need to think critically about social media.
Fake News, Deep Fakes, and Evaluating Information:
What do we mean when we say that something is“fake news”? How do we know when an image or a video is real and when it is computer-generated? Students will learn how to evaluate informationand consider what makes a source trustworthy. They will also get practice at trying tospot unreliable news and images.
How Social Media Platforms Operate: Ethics of Algorithms
Students will learn about algorithms and how they work on social media platforms and consider the various ethical concerns this raises.
What IS "artificial intelligence" (AI) and is it like human intelligence? Students will reflect on various ways we might think of both AI and what it means to be human.
Friendship, Bullying, and Social Media
What does it mean to be a "friend" and does friendship require in-person interactions? Can true friendship occur solely on social media? Conversely, students will also consider what constitutes “bullying” and how social media may exacerbate bullying. Students will reflect on what duties we have towards others online.
Additional Resources for Teachers
Additional resources for teachers are available on topics including social media's effects on adolescent mental health, resilience, the ethics of AI, media literacy, and philosophical inquiry.
Questions, Suggestions, or Speaker Inquiries?
To request a speaker to meet with your students, please email us at [email protected], or contact Director Kristen Intemann at [email protected]. We also welcome questions, feedback, suggestions for additional topics, curriculum ideas, or additional resources!
Who are We?
Dr. Kristen Intemann is a Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Science, Technology, Ethics and Society (C-STES) at Montana State University. She earned her PhD in philosophy in 2004 from the University of Washington, where she taught 6th and 10th graders with the Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children. At MSU since 2005, her scholarship focuses on the intersectionof ethics and philosophy of science/technology,writing on topics such as public engagement of science, science communication, disinformation, values in science, trust, objectivity and bias in science.
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Dr. Bonnie Sheehey is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Montana StateUniversity. She earned her PhD in philosophy from the University of Oregon in 2019 and taught 7th-10th graders as a graduate student for the Philosophy for Children program. Since 2019, she has taught a range of introductory and upper-level philosophy courses, including Introduction to Ethics and Philosophy andTechnology. Her research focuses on contemporary ethical, social, and political problems stemming from our use of technology, specifically in the American criminal justice system.
Brin Purdy is from Billings, MT and worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Center for Science, Technology, Ethics & Society. Her interests include artificial intelligence and ethics of technology. She graduated in May 2022 with a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Psychology.