Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Digital Literacy in the Era of "Fake News"
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Lots of recent news stories have discussed the fear of "hacking" and "fake news." It seems like no place on the Internet is safe from nefarious malfeasances these days. Isn't there anything we can do to stay safe and appropriately informed in this digital age? 
Yes. It involves teaching Digital Literacy and Internet Safety. These are not topics that the Tech teacher or English teacher should address - every teacher should actively teach students how to be safe online at every possible opportunity. If you're not doing this yet, there's no better time to get started than right now!  
Yesterday an email appeared in my inbox from Education World involving this exact topic. Among other things, the message provided free ready-made lesson plans and resources to help teachers guard against the spreading of "fake news." 
In that message it was also revealed that the American Press Institute and Newsela have teamed up to improve media literacy instruction by focusing on 6 questions: 
  • TYPE: What kind of content is this? 
  • SOURCE: Who & what are the sources cited, & why should I believe them? 
  • EVIDENCE: What's the evidence & how was it vetted? 
  • INTERPRETATION: Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence? 
  • COMPLETENESS: What's missing? 
  • KNOWLEDGE: Am I learning every day what I need? 
(See more resources in Newsela's Media Literacy Toolkit)
National Public Radio offers these tips to help us all be wary of potential fake-news from Melissa Zimdars, Assistant Professor of Communications at Merrimack College:   
  • Pay attention to the domain & URL 
  • Read the "About Us" section 
  • Look at the quotes in a story
  • Look at who said them
  • Check the comments
  • Reverse image search 

While I'm sure there are many more resources to help you teach Internet Safety and Digital Literacy, these new resources may help you get on your way to helping your students become active and critical consumers of information. 

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