Learning to comment well, avoid chatter, and identify made-up news and comments — before sharing or forwarding them — is a critical 21st Century literacy skill.
Each week I receive a terrific email on fact checking, sent from the Poynter Institute, an independent group that promotes excellent and innovative journalism in our 21st Century democracy. Poynter’s weekly email message contains all sorts of interesting tidbits, quotes, and information that can help people learn more about information accuracy.
Social media and the digital tools that we use every day have transported us into a strange new era. As we use these tools to work and play we tacitly allow them to collect incredible amounts of our personal information — content that documents our lives, likes, loves, and dislikes — and we become sitting ducks for sham news and fraudulent information. Those who possess our information, good guys or bad, can use impersonal algorithms to assess and use our data. Read my post about using Duck, Duck Go.
Many years ago, at a conference on the campus of Virginia Tech, I entered a virtual reality (VR) area — I think it was called “the cave” — with all sorts of things going on around me. I think I was expecting the holodeck from Star Trek, where they went through a door and suddenly found themselves on vacation in a beautiful and peaceful place (check out what Virginia Tech’s video that describes virtual reality and the holodeck). Instead during my first foray into VR I wore big goggles, and I got a bit dizzy. So I’ve been a bit hesitant to try again.
I’ve spent some time on this blog discussing the importance of credibility and evaluation — what I call 21st Century vocabulary words. Understanding how to evaluate and judge the credibility of content is digital life survival skill. Thus, when I discover a new resource that supports student learning I am always excited.
The News Literacy Projectwebsite features an excellent video with individuals — of all ages — sharing their thoughts about how news literacy skills can help people know what information to trust. It will be a useful tool for teachers who are developing student activities that focus on media credibility and evaluation. It can be well-paired with student activities that feature the online or app exhibits of the Newseum front pages
Ideas about artificial intelligence (AI) have tended to swirl around without offering me much to think about. I use Siri and Hello Google on my iPhone, I’m aware of the increasingly powerful social media algorithms, and I’ve watched, with some interest, the accomplishments of IBM’s Watson. Yet I haven’t really thought much about it.
The developments and decisions made about AI over the next couple of years may well affect our lives and the lives of our descendants. It’s best to get to know a bit about what is going on, especially when it comes to personal privacy, and also to ensure that our children learn about the positive and negative aspects of artificial intelligence.
How to scrutinize, classify, organize, and evaluate today’s media — as much as possible, online and off? That’s the question.
As we search for ideas that can help young people explore news sources, evaluate their preferences, examine how the media outlets identify and share facts, we mustn’t forget incorporating the opportunity to talk with one another about the perspective that each source brings to its news-sharing. Recently I found Vanessa Otero’sinteresting diagram that demonstrates how we can focus on media sources as well as consider their viewpoints and biases.
Evaluating 21st Century news is more complex than it’s ever was in the 20th Century. Reading the news is de-emphasized and watching the news is more prevalent, so we don’t interact much with information sources. The Internet and cable television channels allow opinions or made-up stories to masquerade as news sources — even when those opinions have no credible or factual source. Social media amplifies everything. Truth and expertise are incidental. Continue reading “Classifying News Sources With a Venn-Diagram Mapping Strategy”→