Teaching About Fake News in Elementary

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This week in EDTC-300 we talked about fake news and how it relates to digital literacy. We now need to talk about how it relates to the classroom and what strategies we can give our students.

In the world we live in it is an important skill set to realize what is fake news and what is real news. We cannot just look at something and believe it 100%. One of the first things that I thought of is we have to teach and model how to be critical thinkers and encourage them to never stop asking themselves questions. Also, we need to teach students about digital literacy at an early age because students have access to the digital world at a very young age.

In the article “How do we teach students to identify fake news?” it talks about two ways that we can implement digital literacy into the classroom to help our students. The first is prioritizing investigative techniques which includes cross-referencing with a variety of sites. The other one that I thought was very important is bringing real-world fake news examples which can involve activities such as “determining the true origin of a viral image or video and examining potential catfishers, bots, or trolls in order to better understand the hallmarks of fake and malicious social media accounts”. I think that when we ask students to do research projects or any kind of project that involves technology we first need use the I do, We do then You do model. An example of this is that the topic is Animals and it is the first research project they will do. Next I need to have a chart to fill in and an example animal. As we are doing this I will purposely bring in a website that is not factual based and we will discuss why it is not useful which will lead into talking about cross-referencing. I also think that students would have interest in doing the spot the fake news activity on regular basis and it will allow lots of opportunities to practice their investigation skills.

In the comic “You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you” it talks about how everyone grows up with world views that create biases which can be sensitive. I really like the example where it talks about how your worldviews build a house inside tour brain and when something goes against it makes your hypothetical house falls apart. This metaphor can be used for teaching about fake news because we need to realize are biases so that we do not fall into the traps of fake news. I personally have seen many situations where people share things that are fake news on Facebook based on their biases and not using any critical thinking. Another big take away is that we must listen, think and be willing to change if it is something that might be focused on our biases.

“The important thing is to never stop questioning”

– Albert Einstein

The book “Lessons IN Critical Thinking” by Peter Pappas gives an in depth look at lessons that can help students with skills like activating prior knowledge and looking past emotions while focusing on logical thinking. The example it uses is that we are always going to make errors and we have to never stop questioning the information and focus on finding the truth. It talks about how this goes into science and the importance of making hypotheses and testing these things that allow us to change our perspective.

Throughout these articles the key ideas were teaching investigation skills such as cross-referencing, thinking about how it is affected by our biases and that we should never stop questioning what information we are given.


One Reply to “Teaching About Fake News in Elementary”

  1. Hey Cody,
    I agree that we need to teach digital literacy at a younger age because of the access younger students have to technology! I like your example with the animals and how you will model and teach the students strategies to discover fake news. Cross referencing is an important part and checking our own biases at the door so we are open minded. I enjoyed the comic article and learning about “back fire.” Sharing fake news can be harmful to others and oneself so it is important to understand what we are reading and not just share or believe an article because of our life experiences or how we are brought up. You mentioned multiple times in the article to never stop questioning and I think as an educator that can go hand and hand with being a life long learner!

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