This week in my EDTC 300 class we went over the topic of fake news. The main way to overcome the problem of not knowing if real information is being provided to you is to increase your digital literacy. Well this might sound easy to accomplish I think it would take a while to be familiar with all the strategies that help you determine if something is indeed fake news. In class we even had little examples where we would choose what we felt was the fake news article. I’ll admit in some cases I wasn’t sure which one to choose. It shows me that this is something that we as educators should be able to do. It’s a valuable skill and is worth trying to improve our student’s ability in as well. That leads back to the purpose of the post which is how we can teach students about deciphering what is fake news. I’ll be looking at how this can be done in a high school english class as that is what my minor is and I feel it fits in there much better than my major which is math.
To try and teach high school students about what exactly is fake news and improving their digital literacy skills, I have an idea in mind on what I would do. First off, I would I do an activity like my EDTC 300 prof Katia Hildebrandt did with us. I would have various articles and have the students use the website menti to vote which source is more likely to be trustworthy. I would gather the results and see just were the students currently are at when it comes to picking out fake news.
After this was done I would go over some points on how to pick out fake news. A big thing to go over would be the fact that when researching you shouldn’t pick the first article that agrees with your beliefs. In the article written by Camila Domonske, it states in a study that “people were better at correctly identifying a factual statement if it aligned with or supported their political beliefs”. This just shows that people are more likely to believe an article if it’s what they want to be true. I would explain how you need to not be opinionated and look for the hard facts. Also, in a different article written by Claire Wardle, she brings up another excellent point I would bring up regarding how after reading some information you should process and think about it before you go sharing immediately. If you start to question it then maybe you should do some more research and look at the source a little more in-depth. After going over some of that I would want to show them this TedED video:
This video brings up various good points about figuring out what is fake news. This includes skipping the middleman and instead trying to find the original source to see if they are reliable. Another point brought up is for any breaking news you are better off waiting till the information is confirmed instead of looking for instant updates that may not be true. You also need to learn how to know if something is a fact or an opinion. Overall, the video has various good ideas that I would want to discuss with the students. So, after a fairly good discussion on fake news and some things that you should be thinking about when you are gathering information. I would then want them to do some more research on the computers and have them make a list of what they think is important to look for when deciding if something is fake news. When they were completed I would have them present and hopefully the students have a better understanding and have improved their digital literacy skills. For fun I would then have some more examples of fake and real news and have the kids tell me which they think is which using menti. I think it would be good if they were actually sure of the answers now instead of likely just guessing when we first tried the activity. I feel like this like would fit into the curriculum because I’ve seen presentations on fake news in high school classrooms and I feel like this would be better because it would engage the students to learn rather than sit and probably not retain as much.
This was just an idea I had regarding how you could teach fake news in a high school english class, I’d love to hear your feedback on my idea and how you think it could be improved!