The Fake News Dilemma

In a time where “fake news” is covering virtually every aspect of the internet and media, digital literacy is becoming increasingly important. It is becoming more and more difficult to determine what information is true or false. Digital Literacy refers to “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” 

Fake news is becoming more prevalent because there are “easily accessible digital tools that allow anyone to create realistic but false messages, videos, and voice recordings.” For instance, take a look at this video. This can be dangerous because we now have to question what we see and hear so that technology does not manipulate us. It is crucial that students learn how to identify fake news and understand how they could be manipulated. 

Digital Literacy can be implemented in many areas of the English 9 curriculum. For example, it could be applied in CR9.1ab, CR9.2ab, and CR9.4ab

To introduce my students to the topic, I would show them a couple of videos to hook their attention. This Pizzagate video is a great hook, and this TedTalk would be a great follow-up! We would then have a class discussion about the videos, and why digital literacy is important and relevant.

As a class activity to engage students, we would play this “Spot the fake news headline” game, or this “Spot the troll” game depending on time!

As a project or assignment, students would be assigned an article and a stance– real or fake news. The student would create a presentation defending the stance they were assigned, and attempt to persuade their classmates that they are correct. This project builds upon digital literacy and persuasive skills. At the end of the presentation, the student presenter would reveal if their stance on the article was correct or not. 

It is so important to teach students about digital literacy. Learning how to identify which information to trust is imperative in the academic world, as well as everyday life.

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