I know that it is extremely important to keep up with what is happening in the world..but how can we do this in a way that we know what we are reading is true and accurate information? It seems as though every year we talk more about how important digital literacy is for people. I'm not talking about just adults, i'm talking about how important it is that our children are also digitally literate.
As a pre-service teacher this is something I have thought a lot about but hadn't looked into too much until now. I don't know that I was aware of how critical it is to teach students how to be digitally literate. My students will constantly be bombarded by information from all over the place and it is my job to teach them how to navigate through that.
I looked at three different sources to help me with this blog today.
1) How to Choose your News which is a TedEd video by Damon Brown
2) Developing Critical Literacies: What We Need to Know in a Fake News World by Alec Courous and Katia Hildebrandt
3) How do we Teach Students to Identify Fake News? by Alec Courous and Katia Hildebrandt
In Damon Brown's Ted talk he speaks about how we choose our news. Nowadays, mass media spreads instantaneously and their are many corrupt people, various perspectives and biased opinions.
Brown says, "when you can't get the direct story, read coverage in multiple outlets which employ different reporters and interview different experts. Tuning into various sources and noting the differences, let's you put the pieces together for a more complete picture." In order to be reading and taking in accurate information we need to do web searches and make sure that information is verified. With the freedom that we now have to information, we must be responsible with it.
As Dr. Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt state, "in today's world...the line between real and fake news seems increasingly blurred and uncertain". That is why it is becoming more critical to teach student's how they can decipher between real and fake. There are definitely some benefits and drawbacks to a world where anyone can publish anything. Hildebrandt and Couros recommend using fact checking sites such as: Snopes, Politifact and FactCheck.org as well as using a reverse image search.
In another article done by these two, they talk about some great strategies to help teach students how to identify fake news. The article is titled, "How do we teach students to identify fake news? In a world where it is increasingly dangerous to simply trust what we read and see". Hildebrandt and Couros recommend moving beyond some of the traditional evaluation checklists (e.g, RADCAP, CRAAP, CARS) as they are outdated and not effective with the level of fake news that is now available. We must also prioritize helping our students to develop effective investigative techniques where they can get comfortable using other information verification websites such as FactsCan, Snopes and Hoax Slayer. Another thing that students can learn to do is read laterally in order to find accurate information from a number of sources. Something that in my mind that is one of the biggest things for students to learn is how to differentiate between fact and opinion. As a teacher something that we can also do to help our students understand the importance of digital literacy is by including real life examples of fake news that we see daily into the classroom.
"Ultimately, in a world where it is increasingly dangerous to simply trust what we read and see it is critical that students are taught to approach the world around them with a healthy sense of skepticism to avoid being mislead, duped or scammed" (Couros & Hildebrandt, 2018).
I am a middle school teacher and so digital literacy is going to be a major part of my classroom when I start teaching. The NCTE states that students in the 21st century should have experience with and develop skills around technological tools used in the classroom. I believe that students should not only understand the technological tools used in the classroom but other tools that they use in their everyday lives. As a teacher I can help my students use this technology in a positive way in order to help them be successful, positive participants in life in the 21st century.