Teaching about ‘Fake News’ in schools

Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay

With consistent and rapid change in technologies, it becomes important that we as a teacher should spread the knowledge and awareness of digital literacy among students. According to NCTE framework, we can thoroughly prepare our students to stand still in amidst of flooded information and identify the fake ones. And to do so, I have brought an example to incorporate a topic among Saskatchewan curriculum of mid-high elementary school. A topic such as identifying the fake news can be introduced into grade 6 and above. Putting into English language arts of cross-curricular competencies or social studies’ teaching of controversial issues, our children can develop thinking contextually, creatively and critically.

To teach kids, I might start with a game of identifying fake information or a comic story to set up the mood of class. Once I grab students’ attention, as stated in Canadian school journal. “I will make great use of “fake sites” designed to help students develop information literacies/skills, including DHMO.orgSave the Endangered Pacific Northwest Tree OctopusFeline reactions to bearded men, and BuyDehydratedWater.It is important to make sure students understand the development and employ investigation techniques with such examples. Because according to Stanford study only 25% of students identify the difference between fake and real news. Therefore to teach them identification of fake information with Five C’s of critical consuming becomes necessary.

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

I will show them how to look for context details, how reliable a context is by checking its credibility, how to analyze the construction of context, how to cooperate the context with other sources to check its truthfulness, how to learn to compare with other resourceful context for new perspective. Once they start learning the context, I will teach them to identify the original news that is unfiltered by middlemen. I will include ted talk video in studies to show how to keep up with the real news trends and delete the unwanted information provided by the web. And spread insight that distinguishing the fake with the knowledge of awareness is a key to hold fast.

Students also need to learn that news is biased based on the understanding of peoples’ perspective. Critically thinking should be evoked with various factors such as How to Detect Bias in the News, Bias through selection and omission, Bias through placement, Bias by headline, Bias by word choice and tone, Bias by photos, captions and camera angles, Bias through the use of names and titles, Bias through statistics and crowd counts, and Bias by source control via this document and media bias chart.

Additionally, simplifying Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to incorporate according to grade level will be thoroughly useful for our students. And book called Web Literacy For Student Fact-Checker provides in-depth knowledge for students to implement practically.

Last but not least, it is important for teachers to understand the concept of fake news such as The Different Types Of Mis And Disinformation, why it is created and what can we do as a public reader so that we can teach future generation to recognize the differences. This is well explained by Claire Wardle in her First Draft. Teacher can also study the research done by Stanford Digital Repository which involved students into “Evaluating information: the cornerstone of civic online reasoning”. Students learned to evaluate big picture with sequence of activities such as prototyping assessments, validation, field-testing and summaries. Summaries showed the details on home- page analysis, evaluating evidence and claims on social media done by students. I would like to do this with my students will teaching them about fake news. I will surely simplify and prepare a lesson plan according to the grade level.

Thus, it is important to realize for students about fake selling of news along with drastic growth of web world and The New York Times provides numerous ideas for teaching and learning about fake news.


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