Teachers all over the country are sharing ideas about how to help their students identify news that is made-up, unsubstantiated, or just plain false. Now Google has added a feature that identifies false information that comes up on user searches. An April 7, 2017 article at the Pointer Journalism site describes Google’s new fact check in detail and explains how the company went about developing its new feature. You can also read the CNET article about Google.
I’ve been delighted by the articles, such as Five Ways Teachers Are Fighting Fake News, an NPR education article that describe how three teachers are incorporating media literacy activities into their curriculum. Plenty of other similar reports have appeared in various media. I hope that, somewhere, there is an organization that is archiving as many teacher ideas as possible.
The New York Times is also developing strategies to help educators to learn more about fake news and fact-checking. According to the TeachThought website, a free April 26th, 2017 webinar, 10 Ways to Teach with The Times Today, will include Times political reporter Nicholas Confessore, explaining how he collects information, checks his facts, and then writes his Times stories. The webinar, which will also cover other topics will begin at 4:00 P.M. Check above TeachThought and Times links for more information and to register.
When I wrote my post, Triple Check For Fake News on Social Media — more than a week before the 2016 election — I had no idea that the issue would become front and center for educators and parents — I just knew that something wasn’t right.
Later, when I discovered that the term, fake news, can be abused, I wrote, Can We Stop Using the Word Fake to Describe Made-up News, with a list of more descriptive terms for news that is not true. While we can’t avoid the concept of fake news, we can teach them to use more specific words in conversation that cannot be interpreted in different ways.
We have a long way to go to solve the problem, but educators and parents are now seriously addressing the need to help children evaluate news and make decisions about credibility.
In a democracy, understanding how to determine the credibility of information, and especially online information is a 21st Century survival skill. What are you doing in your family or classroom to address the problem?