In its glossary, Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy defines news literacy as:
The ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports, whether they come via print, television or the Internet.
How we teach everyday civics is becoming more and more important for student consumption of news. With the topic of ‘fake news’ as a popular debate, how do we evaluate what is good news. Statistics show that high school students are not prepared for critical evaluation of the media, let alone understand their own worldview, and how that changes ones perspective.
Here is a good TedEd video by Damon Brown sharing the process of choosing news worthy items.
Fake news can be fabricated stories to get more clicks (click bait) or hoax sites, satirical sites made by teachers or students, and edited images to remix reality. How reporters share information can be seen as biased based on pressures of a deadline and a particular worldview. How do we encourage our students to evaluate all media including social media like tweets? How do we encourage our students to evaluate what is truth? What does God say about truth? Is truth relative i.e.does it change depending on one’s perspective? Are opinions relative? What do you think the phrase, “all truth is God’s truth” means?
Rules to follow when identifying credible sources:
- Does this writing seem too good to be true? You may wonder at its validity. Ask these questions: Does this article seem unbelievable? Does it conflict with something you already know to be true? Is it greatly exaggerated?
- Who wrote this information? Identifying the author can help you determine the credibility and truth of your source. Determine the author’s education, training, or experience/knowledge on the topic? Does she or she have a professional title, belong to an established and respected organization, and can you take extra steps to find out more about the author ie an about me page.
- When was this article written? How old is the information on the website? This will determine its reliability and accuracy. There should be a date when the information was written and links included on the site should be updated and be working. Check on the bottom of the website to see the last update.
- Can the information be verified? To check the accuracy of an article or website we might want to look at the sources used in the article, whether they are listed in the article, and is there a good bibliography or other links to provide additional sources of information. Can you find other sources which share identical information?
- How does the tone of the writing reflect credibility? The way an article is written will reveal clues about the credibility. Check for good grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style of language. Is the language demanding, critical, or over emotional? Is the writing too informal and more colloquial? Does it only share one point of view? If you can notice a bias what facts does it use to back it up? Does it appear to make people angry or try and manipulate people?
- Why does the author write this information? Every author comes from a particular worldview or perspective. Some people will write articles to contribute to unreliability, bias and untruth. That does not discount argumentative essays or passion/opinion pieces. However use your judgement and the clues as shared above about credibility before using this as a reliable source.
- MediaSmarts.ca has lots of awesome media literacy lessons (Grades 9-12).
Discovery Education: Media Literacy – Creating Media (Grades 9-12)
Discovery Education: Media Literacy – Media Ethics (Grades 9-12)
Discovery Education: Media Literacy – Audience (Grades 9-12)
Discovery Education: Real Life Teens – Social Media Addiction (Grade 9-12)
- Discovery Education: Talk it Out: Sex, Self-Respect and Social Media (Grade 6-12)
- Digital Resource centre media literacy lessons.
- Centre for News Literacy lesson plans
- Mind Over Media Analyzing propaganda lesson plans.
- Six Principles behind News Literacy SchoolJournalism.org
Teach your students the following lessons shared here:
GCSC Library tutorial from Youtube.
- Kathy Shrock downloadable worksheets for lesson plans on teaching evaluation skills to students all grades.
- Website Evaluation Process for middle and high school students. From Read Write Think site.
- Web source accuracy. This guides students through the process of using multiple sources to verify source accuracy.
- Fake News- How to spot Fake news guide from Harvard Library.
- Curio.ca subscription : Disinformation and Lies: The Dangers of Fake News (Grades 9-12)
- Bias : Recognizing Bias– tutorial
- Stanford Graduate School of Education report on Evaluating Information: Cornerstone of Online Literacy.
RESEARCH TOOLS FOR COPYRIGHT AND ATTRIBUTION.
Videos from Learn 360 subscription and ed tech tools. If you are using databases like Explora you can save all your citations using My Folder. There are lots of great tools on Explora sharing the research process and how to cite.
Google Search tools : How to Google proof your search. This document outlines the citing sources and Google Scholar as well as how use the research tool in Google docs. Please note bibliography format in Canada is MLA.
Creative Commons – still need to cite likewise Google IMAGE search with the free to reuse search term as your parameter