Fake is a generic term. It means one thing to one person and another thing to someone else. Anyone can say that something is fake or made up.
More descriptive words make it more difficult to label information that is untrue, and easier to challenge. We — kids, adults, parents, and teachers — need all the help we can get in this 21st Century connected world when it comes to evaluating credibility
Verified or validated news
Teaching our children and all citizens to check for credibility, evaluate, and celebrate substantiated news has become more urgent In today’s hyper-connected world. Read my more detailed post on this topic.
Fake is a generic term. We don’t use it much when we teach — in any subject — because it’s judgmental and doesn’t tell us much about whatever it’s supposed to be characterizing. Besides, anyone can say that something — anything — is fake or made up.
So let’s not use fake to describe the news.
I recently read The Fight Against Fake News Starts in the Classroom, an article that describes media literacy lessons developed by Project Look Smart (at Ithaca College)and the principles of evaluating, deconstructing, and applying unambiguous descriptions to the news. The literacy lessons aim to help students gain more understanding of the practice of media evaluation and inquiry rather than simply designating something as true or false. When I finished reading the article and look over the wonderful teaching units, I realized that every lesson can be completed without focusing much, or at all on the word fake. Continue reading →
A media company in Sweden, MetroSverige, shared this excellent video visualization that depicts the differences between checking on the validity of a piece of news and just sharing it without pausing to consider whether it or not it is fake news.
If you think a lot about fake news these days, and if you aim to help your students or family members develop the ability to effectively evaluate and decide what’s real and what’s not, National Public Radio (NPR) just published an excellent article, Fake or Real? How to Self-Check the News and Get the Facts. This piece highlights six steps that individuals can use to judge the stories they encounter, and the article includes a detailed description about how to go about following through with each step.
The entire NPR post, which is chock full of helpful information, will be a useful teaching tool for anyone who wants to gauge a news item’s authenticity, and the six basic steps are easy to master. Post the list near computers, on the refrigerator, and in rooms where family members use digital devices and on digital devices’ note pads.
A hackathon is an event attended by students who gather for a few days to focus on solving problems by using their programming skills. Collaboration is key. According to Zachary Liu, a manager for the Princeton event, about 600 students attended from over 80 universities.
Photo used with permission of Hack Princeton Team
A hackathon is 21st Century learning at its best. The aim of each event is to identify problems that need solving and encourage students to work collaboratively, using their programming (coding) skills, to figure out potential solutions.
At the Princeton event, and at many other hackathons around the country, there is no charge for room and board, and in some cases buses pick up participants at different schools. Travel costs can be reimbursed. Continue reading →
Media and news literacy skills are critical for people who seek to become strong citizens. The above definition aptly describes the meaning of media literacy. Unfortunately the Media Literacy Project, where this graphic came from, closed its doors in 2015.