I am having great fun with Factitious, a quiz that tests my ability to identify real news (as well as the fake stuff). It’s a resource that can help middle and high school kids fine-tune media their literacy skills, guiding them to figure out the truthfulness (or lack of truthfulness) of a news story. Oh, and maybe it can help adults, too.
Developed collaboratively by JoLT and the AU Game Lab, two organizations at the American University in Washington, DC, the quiz highlights news stories that have appeared in print and asks players to read evaluate them. At the bottom of each story is a button to click to identify the source of the story. With these two bits of information, players decide whether the news story is true or false. The game indicates whether an answer is correct or incorrect, and then provides a description of the news source, explaining whether it’s known for false or reliable information.
It’s possible to play the game without registering, but a player can also officially register by including an email address and some demographic information. The game questions are the same, and I am guessing that the registration option is helping someone at American University conduct academic research. I sent in a couple of requests for info, but it’s summer and I suspect that’s why I’ve not received any answers.
Students in JoLT, a program funded by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, explore the connections between journalism and game design. The American University Game Lab offers master’s degrees and certificates in game design and social change with a focus on experiential education, persuasive play research, and innovation.
Give Factitious a try!
N.B. It’s always fun when I blog about a topic, and then later on the mainstream news posts a report. This NPR article, To Test Your Fake News Judgment, Play This Game, appeared on July 3, 2017. The reporter got a call/email back from the Factitious folks so there is even more information included.