Real Strategies for Fake News

Laptop office internet writing

This week we continued our learning around Ribble’s 9 elements of Digital Citizenship, in particular Digital Literacy. Fake news has been around for a long time, but with the expansion of social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc) the quantity, access, and reach has increased. We need to develop strategies for ourselves and our students to determine fact from fiction within our digital worlds.

Digital literacy also includes the ability to differentiate between real and fake content, which can have a negative impact on the lives of your students. They need to learn which content is good for them and what they should avoid in order to lead a balanced life.

As teachers, we need to share these strategies with our students so they may also be conscious consumers of their digital world. I think it is very important to teach digital literacy to all students in each and every grade and subject. This is especially true any time students are doing research or exploring content online. However, I am going to do a bit of a deep dive in to the Psychology 20 (2020) curriculum as that is a course I am currently teaching.

Canadian’s were ahead of the curve in their teaching of fake news – Commercial from May 1999

Psychology 20 Connections

During my exploration I found the website Media Smarts. Media Smart’s website has a list of the various curriculum connections for Psychology 20 as well as a large variety of other Saskatchewan curriculums. The Media Smart’s website has tons of resources and links each resource to the particular curricular outcome, which is fantastic!

However, the Psychology 20 curriculum was recently updated, so I am going to explore a few more connections that are not on the Media Smarts website. These connections are the outcomes and indicators of the recently updated Psychology 20 curriculum. Some of the outcomes of the new curriculum align with the old curriculum so the Media Smarts website is still a vary valuable resource.

P20. 2 Explore how spiritual, biological, cognitive, emotional and social dimensions influence the way we think and feel about the world
(j) Discuss the impact of symbols/logos that affect emotions and attitudes
(e.g., sport logos, mascots, media)

P20.6 Assess impacts of individual behaviour on relationships and society
(g) Examine how the use of technology (e.g., social media, gaming,
texting) can affect interpersonal relationships

P20.7 Investigate connections between mental health and personal environment in relation to holistic development and behaviour.
(a) Examine how an individual makes sense of the world and how
worldview influences behaviour

P20.8 Analyze the impact of social-constructivism ideas on developmental behaviours
(b) Critique influences of culture and social norms on the definition of
concepts of justice in a society
(d) Investigate various social movements present in own community
(f) Conduct an inquiry into how perception affects behaviour

P20.9 – Investigate contemporary social psychology issues
(c) examine challenges that various worldviews can present in social
situations in a culturally diverse society
(h) Analyze collective behaviours and in the influences of ‘groupthink’
on group behavious
(n) Investigate contemporary beliefs for characteristics of beauty and
the influences of cultures and media on defining qualities of

As you can see there are a variety of outcomes and indicators that link specifically to the media and its impact on individuals. In fact, the whole course is about how our behaviours, attitudes, and perceptions are shaped so there is multiple ways you can bring in media literacy into the course.

NCTE Framework

The NCTE framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment has 6 elements:

  • Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought
  • Design and share information for global communities that have a variety of purposes
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneously presented information
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by complex environments

Upon review, you can see how digital literacy can be integrated into each element. Students need to be critical thinkers when they are interpreting online sources and especially before sharing such sources, perpetuating the problem. If educators follow the NCTE framework, they will also be teaching digital literacy in the process.

Classroom Ready Resources

Here is a list of some resources I explored to help teachers tackle fake news with their students:

Check Please Starter Course
KQED Lesson Plans
Bias in the News Worksheet
How to Choose your News – TED ED Lesson
Don’t get Tricked by Fake News Lesson
How to Teach your Students About Fake News
Teaching Kids News


One thought on “Real Strategies for Fake News

  1. Hey Tina,
    I agree that it is never too early to teach students about how to be safe online. Students are accessing the internet at younger and younger ages, and with that comes more dangers, which is why it is so important to be proactive and not reactive in this situation. You made a lot of great connections to the Psychology 20 curriculum as well and it goes to show that teaching digital literacy is a part of the curriculum even if it is not explicitly listed. I also appreciate the resources you shared! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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