This week a post on The Adventures of Library Girl (a blog by written by Jennifer LaGarde, the Lead School Library Media Coordinator/Digital Teaching and Learning Specialist for New Hanover County Schools in Wilmington, NC.) titled Fake News, Alternative Facts and Librarians As Dedicated Defenders of Truth pushed me to think about the idea of Fake News and how librarians, classroom teachers, ICT teachers and schools in general have been working for decades to help students sort the wheat from the chaff when they are “doing research”.
IB schools, which are constantly working to inspire their students and teachers to be Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced and Reflective have been teaching “digital literacy”, “digital fluency”, “computer literacy”, “digital citizenship”, etc. So have many other schools and organization, of course, but I think that in the IB context, these attributes are more than skill sets.
Long ago (2009), Chris Betcher posted “5 Factors for Evaluating Websites” on Slideshare.net. In her recent post, Jennifer LaGarde shares a poster with much the same information, designed to help students spot Fake News. (There are many helpful resources on the web – do an image search for “evaluating websites” )
- Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds Teens absorb social media news without considering the source; parents can teach research skills and skepticism posted on The Wall Street Journal web page by Sue Shellenbarger on Nov. 21, 2016. “Some 82% of middle-schoolers couldn’t distinguish between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a real news story on a website, according to a Stanford University study of 7,804 students from middle school through college….Many students judged the credibility of newsy tweets based on how much detail they contained or whether a large photo was attached, rather than on the source.”
- Joyce Valenza has written an excellent post on the School Library Journal blog. In Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world, she writes that “Our kids need new types of filters. Beyond larger notions of information literacy, I see the case for a specific focus on news literacy. Not as a lesson of good vs. bad. Not as an attempt to pitch traditional media against social media or peer review against popular publication. Not through the examination of hoaky hoax sites. And certainly not as a one-of, checklist type of lesson for a 9th grade social studies teacher in September…This is a new landscape from the one we taught in even five years ago. We need new compasses for navigation.” She shares this TEDEd video by Damon Brown which offers a student-friendly explanation as well as strategies for analyzing news sources:
- Lesson Plans bvaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News January 2017 on the New York Times web page: E
This story on the BBC News site, Cambridge scientists consider fake news ‘vaccine’ on 23 January 2017, offers some interesting ideas for teachers to consider adding to their digital literacy lessons. ” “Misinformation can be sticky, spreading and replicating like a virus,” said the University of Cambridge study’s lead author Dr Sander van der Linden. The idea is to provide a cognitive repertoire that helps build up resistance to misinformation, so the next time people come across it they are less susceptible.” ” Another story about the Cambridge research on the Huffington Post adds Dr. van der Linden’s thoughts that “The idea is to provide a cognitive repertoire that helps build up resistance to misinformation, so the next time people come across it they are less susceptible.”” You can read a more detailed description of the study, and download the report at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication’s web page.