I wanted to take a moment to highlight an incredible program for our students that is available online. I have been both impressed and amazed by the work that The News Literacy Project is doing to help build critical thinking skills in students. The News Literacy Project is a non-profit and nonpartisan organization that is working to educate the public about how to separate fact from fiction in the news and how to assess news credibility. They have developed an incredibly comprehensive online program called Checkology for middle school and high school aged students that can be tailored for each classroom.
Checkology consists of about a half a dozen units per grade that cover the essentials of news and media literacy. These units are often presented by actual news anchors and heads of news or media organizations. Each unit includes lots of activities for students to test their newfound knowledge through the sorting of video, media, and other content into appropriate categories of information. It also helps them to understand what makes some content credible and other content not. And they do all of this while being simultaneously entertaining and engaging! The clips that they use as examples are timely and relevant and students will feel right at home with the content.
Checkology will become an integral piece of my library programming here at the OJCS. Media literacy is a key foundation of digital citizenship, and this incredible program can help our students get there.
Today we read the chapter book UFO Spotted! which is in the Hilde Cracks the Case Series. This book is written by Hilde Lysiak and Matthew Lysiak and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. If you decide to stop at a certain chapter make sure you take note of the time in the video so you can start back in the same place another time.
I want you to pay attention to how important it is to Hilde to get all the FACTS before she writes her story. Real news is fact-based. Real journalism is not a guess or an opinion. Real news is not based on rumours. Real news is about stating clear facts. That is very important in learning to differentiate real news from potentially fake, false, or misleading news.
ACTIVITY: Visit Hilde’s news site and get tips from the real Hilde!
First let’s visit Hilde’s real news site, Orange Street News, and take ten minutes to read some real news stories.
Teachers will then need to print the web evaluation checklist. Click the button on the upper right hand corner ‘pop out’. Only print page 1. Students will fill it in to determine if this website is credible or not.
When they have formed their conclusions, you can explain that the last step, lateral reading, is often the fastest way to fact-check information and can be your FIRST step. Running a Google search on the topic and or the author or site name can often provide you with everything you need to know. And following the rule of three, checking information against two other sources, is also a wonderful strategy to use.
Learning to identify misinformation, disinformation, deepfakes and other baloney
I recently created this lesson on information credibility for our OJCS middle schoolers in the interactive format of Nearpod. I am posting the slides version here for students and teachers far and wide to use. Our young people need this now more than ever!
Misinformation is ‘false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive.’
Where do we hear this misinformation? Unfortunately, the online world is absolutely full of it. From youtube videos, to tiktok, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, people are bombarded with fake facts and fake news. Here is an example of misinformation that I found on youtube.
If you saw this video online you’d be terrified. You might tell your friends about it and spread this information further. So how do we verify if it is true or not?
Now it’s your turn to give this a try. I need you to be a fact-checker and find out if this information is true or not using the techniques we just learned.
Check the source – run a Google Search on the publisher or author of the information and try to find out more
The Rule of Three – check three other sources of information