Distinguish True vs. Fake News With Factitious Quiz

Visit the site and play Factitious.

I am having great fun with Factitiousa 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.                                   Continue reading

My Need For Google Decreases Each Time My Privacy Feels Threatened

I’ve written before about the growing loss of privacy in our 21st Century lives.

Just about everything we do these days creates data that can be collected by someone. Found on Pixabay.

Now, after reading the Washington Post article Google Now Knows When Its Users Go to the Store to Buy Stuff, I am even more concerned about privacy. Fellow blog readers, you should be too.

In essence, Google is now using credit card data, to combine with the data it has already collected about us, to learn more about our purchases — those made online and and those we purchase without any online connection. The goal, according to Washington Post reporters Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg, is to discover whether Google’s  searches and its advertisements have helped  people decide what to buy — even when a purchase isn’t made online.

The company continues to collect data and learn more and more about people of all ages. That’s creepy. It feels even more creepy when I consider how we use Gmail in my family to share calendars and when I look at the Google Dashboard that keeps track of and shares with me some of the data Google has collect about us.

Most Interesting Quote From the Article Continue reading

Are You Sometimes “Botified” When You Communicate Online?

Watch David Ryan Polgar’s video below.

Take some time to watch an interesting video, Are We Becoming Bots, presented by tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar. In his video Polgar describes how in today’s digital age, each person is connected to many, many other people. Too many connections can lead individuals to send “botified” responses —  meaning that we sometimes behave more like robots and less like people. “Botified” behavior occurs because of the digital world challenges that arise when we try to accommodate way too many online connections.                                Continue reading

Digital Kids to Parents — Don’t Break Your Own Rules! A Poem

Several years ago I uploaded a post, Advice from Digital Kids to Parents, including some of the thoughts that kids in grades 3-6 shared with me about adults’ digital activities. My students often commented that it was unfair when parents asked their kids to sign a digital life contract or agreement, because adults then proceeded to break many of the common sense rules.

For some time I’ve felt those children’s voices bubbling up with their ideas, and since today (Sunday) is the last day of National Poetry Month 2017, I listened to those voices, penning this poem about kids, parents, contracts, and common sense.

So here’s my second, and I hope amusing poem about digital life from kids’ perspectives. (Read my first poem.) Children have brought up all these events in discussions with during digital citizenship activities.

Hey Mom and Dad…

I’m really glad I got my phone,
It’s cool and lots of fun.
I’m texting friends and playing games,
It seems I’m never done.

I signed your contract with my name,
Yes, it was right to do.
But I wish you’d take the time
To follow those rules too!

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Wordless Videos Can Teach Problem-Solving

Ormie the Pig

The YouTube site where Ormie the Pig is posted offers this description of the video: Ormie is a Pig, in every sense of the word. Pig see cookie. Pig want cookie. But they are out of reach…or are they? … Ormie has garnered 8 Festival Awards including Best Short Film (Savannah FF 2010, Palm Springs Int’l Shorts Fest 2010, Sprockets 2010, Seattle Int’l FF 2010) and the Audience Award (New York Int’l Children’s FF 2011). To see other videos in the collection, visit SpeechisBeautiful.com.

The old saying — a picture is worth a thousand words — is beautifully demonstrated by a collection of non-verbal videos at  SpeechisBeautiful.com. The miracle of the web allows an expert to collect a group of relevant materials — in this case delightful, but wordless professionally produced film shorts —  and share them with teachers and parents.

Children can watch the videos, observe how problems are solved, and then figure out how to talk about what they’ve seen. While the film shorts have no speech, they do have delightful sound effects, providing excellent learning opportunities for children who need conversational encouragement. Teachers who work with children of all ages will recall students of theirs who would benefit from this strategy.

Sarah, the host of the website is a bilingual speech pathologist, and she has curated a collection that will please and encourage the most timid speaker or slightly nervous bilingual child.

The image on the right describes Ormie the Pig, one video in Sarah’s collection.

Also, the Speech is Beautiful site is full of other ideas, features a blog, and also offers some resources for sale.

Poor News Literacy Skills Combined With Fake News Can Hurt Real People

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via Pixabay

For years to come there will be no better case study to illustrate the damage that fake news, internet trolls, and social media can create than ‘Pizzagate’. The shameful, made-up information and the events that followed will comprise an authoritative discussion piece for parents, and it should enter every middle and high school media/news literacy curriculum.

In the April 20, 2017 Washington Post, Comet Pizza owner James Alefantis writes about how fake news concerning his restaurant went viral. His article What Happened When ‘PizzaGate’ Came to My Restaurant describes what happened when his business, neighbors, and customers suffered because of harassment, frightening phone calls, menacing comments to workers and their families, intimidation toward nearby businesses, and even death threats.  Yet Alefantis also describes how his strong community — neighbors and other businesses — rallied in support.
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News Literacy Skill Requires Knowledge About Evaluation and Credibility

Check out the News Literacy Project video below.

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 Project website 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

Watch the video.          Continue reading