In EDTC 300, I have learned the importance of integrating technology into the classroom to not only improve teaching instruction, but to enhance the traditional ways of teaching and to better engage students with their learning. With the integration of technology, students must be taught how to take ownership of their digital lives. Not only is it crucial to teach digital citizenship and it’s nine elements, but it’s necessary we teach students to “approach news and information with a critical eye in order to identify intentionally misleading sources” (Couros & Hildebrandt, 2018, para 2).
Like it was said in Damon Brown’s video, today the amount of information is limitless and just a click away. With the internet multiplying the amount of information and viewpoints we have access to, comes greater responsibility as consumers to ensure we are not being fooled by fake news and the dangers that accompany it. In Wineburg, McGrew, Breakstone, Ortega’s (2016) article, they described the internet as “both the worlds best fact checker, and the worlds best bias confirmer- often at the same time” (p. 4). In his video, John Spencer stated that in a Stanford study, only 25% of high school students were able to identify an accurate news story compared to a fake news story. Students also had a hard time distinguishing between real and fake photos, as well as authentic and staged videos. This is a concerning reality. As future educators, it is our responsibility to ensure students gain the skills necessary to combat the fake news they will encounter daily. But how?
Damon Brown’s advice is to: verify the news before spreading it. This is a really simple way to ensure you are not being lazy about the things you are sharing and spreading to your followers. This is something I wish more of my facebook friends would consider. As Brown mentioned, doing the necessary “work” before sharing the article helps ensure the flow of information does not become a flood- leaving us less informed than before.
I also really appreciated John Spencer’s 5 C’s of Critical Consuming method to help students identify fake news:
As I hope to be an early elementary educator, I focused on ways to integrate teaching fake news with grade 3 students.
- In Health Education, Outcome DM3.1 students are to: “demonstrate the importance of investigating information for making informed decisions related to healthy foods and physical activity, one’s “inner self”, helpful and harmful substances, healthy family and home, safety at home, and impact of violence.”
- Indicator b: “Determine the kinds of information to gather and investigate for making healthy decisions.”
- Indicator c: “Examine sources of information/misinformation in the community.”
Working with these outcomes and indicators, I was able to find a lesson plan titled: Is Seeing Believing? focussing on how people can alter digital photos and videos. From this, students will be able to:
- Recognize that photos and videos can be altered digitally.
- Identify different reasons why someone might alter a photo or video.
- Analyze altered photos and videos to try to determine why.
I was also able to find another resource to use in the grade 3 classroom working with the same outcomes and indicators focussing specifically on fake news. The “Break the Fake” lesson plan will introduce students to the challenges of identifying what is real and fake online. This lesson also includes a fun, interactive quiz.
I also found another lesson plan by Media Smarts called “Can you Spot the Ad?” to help students demonstrate an understanding of:
- what “branding” and “brands” are and how to recognize them
- how to identify advertisements in different media
- the goals and tactics of advertising
Overall, I believe it is extremely important to ensure we are providing our students the skills that are essential in navigating the constantly evolving online world and their online presence in order to become safe and responsible citizens online. Introducing the younger elementary grades to topics around digital citizenship is essential to ensure they become confident and responsible when using technology.
Help me out!
What other resources could you suggest I use to help teach K-5 students digital citizenship and navigating fake news online?