Deepfakes: Exploring Media Manipulation

Deepfakes: Exploring Media Manipulation Lesson Plan

The goal of this lesson to raise students’ awareness and understanding of what deepfakes are, how they can cause harm, and how they could be regulated. The lesson also encourages students to question their own manipulation of images and video.

Connected Standards:

Common Core State Standards: ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

ISTE Digital Citizen, 2b: Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.

Scotland Curriculum for Excellence

I can evaluate the implications for individuals and societies of the ethical issues arising from technological developments. TCH 3-06a

Before Starting the Lesson:

  • Make a copy of the lesson slides so you can edit as needed.
  • Preview the videos to ensure that they are appropriate for the group. Note of caution: the term ‘deepfake’ originated in the pornography industry, which may be referenced in some sources.
  • Check audio/video equipment.
  • Provide a copy of the 3 column brainstorm sheet for group use. You can make a digital copy and give students appropriate editing rights so they can complete it in a digital format.
  • If students do not have a Google Doc account, have an alternative ready for them to right the rules/regulations. They could create slides, a formal document, etc.

Lesson Resources:

Activity 1: Detect the Deepfake

Students watch the Deepfakes Explained video on CNN’s website. Below the video is a quick test to see how well students can detect a deepfake.

Note: The CNN site has several excellent discussion questions and video clips. Feel free to utilize as many of their posted resources as possible and/or encourage students to explore on their own.

Activity 2: 3 Column Brainstorm

This activity encourages small group discussion about the topic. It also allows them to consider various problems that can occur for different groups of people. There will be overlap between the groups.

Activity 3: Creating regulations/rules

This activity asks students to consider the deeper legal and ethical guidelines individuals and groups could use when it comes to deepfake technology.


  • Students write a letter to a state or federal representative to ask for an added regulation.
  • Students examine YouTube policies to see how Deepfakes might be flagged or monitored.
  • Students find their own example of a harmful hoax or deepfake video. (Warning: deepfakes started in the pornography industry). Guide students to YouTube and/or a site that flags fake content like Snopes.

Except where otherwise noted, this work by Shana Ferguson, Vancouver Public Schools, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. All logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners.

This lesson was supported in part by funding from the US-UK Fulbright Commission. Content and ideas do not represent the views or policies of the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

This presentation may contain or reference links to websites operated by third parties. These links are provided for your convenience only and do not constitute or imply any affiliation, endorsement, sponsorship, approval, verification, or monitoring.

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