Class 3: Fake News

“In search of answers, many of us ask our kids to “Google” something. These so-called digital natives, who’ve never known a world without screens, are the household’s resident fact-checkers. If anyone can find the truth, we assume, they can. Don’t be so sure.

True, many of our kids can flit between Facebook and Twitter while uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to using the Internet to get to the bottom of things, Junior’s no better than the rest of us. Often he’s worse.”

~ “Why Students Can’t Google Their Way to the Truth” Education Week  Reporting on 2016 research project with 7,804 students in middle school through college. Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning link to 3.4 MB pdf

Today’s class will  explore the world of “fake news” with a focus on its implications for democracy in the digital age. This will serve as a kick off for our first extended lesson design project.

In class activities: we review social media feeds and used the graph below to classify some of the news stories.

Source for social media stories:

  • Our own social media feeds.
  • Searching Twitter (which shows content even w/o a Twitter account)
  • Blue Feed, Red Feed: See Liberal Facebook and Conservative Facebook, Side by Side ~  Wall Street Journal

Takeaways:

  • We are better at discerning right/ left continuum than responsible/fake news journalism continuum.
  • Fake news success at spreading information relies on an absence of critical thinking skills
Project: Media Literacy / Critical Thinking Design

We will begin a extended PBL focused on publishing a suite of lessons for teaching media literacy and critical thinking to intermediate – high school students. Flooded with information from the “post-truth world” of “alternative facts,” students will need to develop their own skills in recognizing “truthiness.”

This is a great vehicle for exploring critical thinking across the curriculum. Good critical thinking skills are the best defense against “fake news.” Here’s a model that might inspire us How to Lie, Cheat, Manipulate, and Mislead using Statistics and Graphical Displays 3.7MB pdf

Good starter article Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News

ASSIGNMENT:

Come to class with ideas to share. You will have 5 mins each to give an “elevator pitch.”

So this coming week all students will brainstorm what content those lesson might cover, and how we might deliver the lessons. They might be standalone lessons or we might try to pick a common theme and approach it from different disciples. We’ll see.

Image credit:  Graphic on Fake news website issue made by VOA News. Wikimedia Commons

Assignment: Find, Curate, Store

This assignment follows Class 2 – Jan 26: Digital literacy It will give us a chance to explore a few digital literacy skills – finding, curation,  storage and responsibly sharing non-copyright material.

To hone our digital literacy skills, we will explore effective search techniques with a focus on finding public domain or Creative Commons licensed content: including images, video, and audio. For more information on public domain searches visit our edtech methods toolkit / Digital Hygiene

We will incorporate some note taking tools to explore effective digital curation and storage.  I’ll suggest Microsoft OneNoteEvernote, or Google Keep. You may have another way to curate your collection.  This will allow us to also do a comparative analysis of these note taking tools.

Students should be sure to record the content (image, text, video) the URL, source institution or archive, and check to be sure it is public domain or creative commons licensed for use.

Here’s a sample image from Flickr showing where some of the information is located on a Flickr page.

HOMEWORK- Due Feb 2

Task 1: Now that you know how to find non- copyright images, students should find an image they like to illustrate their first post and update the post by adding a “Featured Image.” Here’s a video how to. 

Task 2: Many of the titles for the first post were rather “bland.” Consider updating title – It doesn’t need to be total clickbait – “I turned on the document camera and you won’t believe what happened next.” But perhaps a bit more descriptive?

Task 3: Working as individual (or in pairs) students should:

  1. Identify a topic to guide their source collection.
  2. Use a variety of search tools to locate at least ten public domain or Creative Commons sources related to that topic such as: text,  image, video or audio.
  3. Use one of the note taking tools (or other system) to collect the content – be sure to provide a hyperlink to the source institution or archive. The link should enable you to go back to the source material.

Task 4: Write a blog post that explores what you learned in this exercise. (Two person teams can cross post the same content.) You might consider reflecting on the task, search, note keep apps or the larger question of the need to teach digital literacy. If your selected note taking tool allows for public sharing, then include a link to your collection.

Featured image credit: 170/365: I can save myself… by Kit / Flickr