Fake news, unreliable websites, viral posts—you would think students who have grown up with the internet would easily navigate it all, but according to a study done by Stanford researchers, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Researchers describe the results of the study done on middle school, high school and college students across the country as “bleak.” Students were asked to judge advertisements, social media, video and photographic evidence, news reports and websites. Though researchers thought they were giving students simple tasks, they say that “in every case and at every level, we were taken aback by students’ lack of preparation.”
As if that weren’t bad enough, researchers go on to say, “At present, we worry that democracy is threatened by the ease at which disinformation about civic issues is allowed to spread and flourish.”
So what can educators do about the spread of fake news and our students’ inability to recognize when they have been fooled? Lesson plans that explicitly address the new media literacy and task students to be responsible consumers and disseminators of news are a good place to start.
Here are eight things that students need to know about fake news and the new media literacy:
"Let's be clear, there's no such thing as "alternative facts."
The same fact can be used by different people to support alternative opinions, but the facts don't change. Different people can use the same facts to emphasize alternative ideas or to inform different theories, but the facts remain the same. Facts are non-partisan. Facts alone are neutral. It's what we do with them that becomes controversial.
That said, there's a not so old saying that goes "we are drowning in information, but starving for knowledge." (Note: the fact that this saying is attributed to at least 5 different people when I do a quick search for the author is an irony that has not escaped me, but I digress). These days, getting answers to your questions is just about the easiest thing in the world. Getting the right answer is more challenging. Librarians (and Neil Gaiman) have known this for years, but one thing is certain, in the information age, discerning fact from fiction is THE "21st century skill."
The Global Digital Citizen understands that we can govern technology for the benefit of both ourselves and others. It is a citizen that views the world as an interconnected community. Additionally, they realize we simultaneously share technological and human experiences regardless of culture, status, or political/religious beliefs.
So we define the best assets of the Global Digital Citizen using 5 tenets.
Last night I watched the conclusion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. A recap of the finals is available on the Associated Press YouTube channel. Like many others who watched the finals, I have to admit that there were some new-to-me words in the final rounds. That reminded me that I have a bunch of sites and apps in my archives that can help students learn new vocabulary words and practice spelling new words.
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
A few years ago my school district received a grant to purchase exercise and sports equipment used in lifelong fitness activities like biking and snowshoeing. Part of the grant also went to developing programs to get people involved in lifelong fitness activities. I was reminded of this today as a new session of fitness classes kicks-off at the high school this evening. Further, I was reminded of some fitness and health apps designed to help students understand healthy diet and exercise choices.
In an article about the Stanford study, the Wall Street Journal talks to parents and educators who have their kids use search engines that censor websites they deem inappropriate, and those who bar their children from using social media to protect them from false information. But are those methods sustainable as kids get older? Some educators and journalists say they don’t get to the root of the issue.
“The fake news problem we’re facing isn’t just about articles gaining traffic from Facebook timelines or Google search results,” writes online journalist Kyle Chayka at the Verge. “It’s also an issue of news literacy—a reader’s ability to discern credible news.”
Digital literacy education can equip young people with the tools they need to better navigate online resources and take advantage of the internet as a tool for learning.
This ebook was designed with English language teachers in mind but should have some value for any teacher who is interested in developing their students’ digital literacy and critical thinking skills. The book contains a wide range of suggested activities for both the creation and exploitation of infographics in the classroom.
Our thanks to guest contributor Alicia Honeycutt for this post. Do you feel like your creativity has taken a back seat? Do you want to awaken that dormant creative spirit within you? Do you feel like your creativity needs a
This site aims to provide students and teachers with information and ideas to assist them apply the Habits of Mind. Each of the sixteen habits is presented along with information on when to use each habit and strategies to make the process easy. Each page includes a short video that demonstrates the Habit of Mind and could be used as a starting point for discussion.
FacebookTwitter18 Any college student eventually comes up against that academic kryptonite: the dreaded research paper. Most students consider it a necessary evil, but research papers are actually a very effective way to hone research and writing skills. These are important things to have in any profession, especially if you are into science, and it does help your personal development.
Editor’s note: Antonio helps you walk through each step of the research paper process – links to the 17 apps and web tools are highlighted within each step.
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