I am required to write up a weekly blog for one of the courses in my Masters program and thus I figured might as well also share it here. It has been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve graduated undergrad, yippe!
I cannot give a great recap of everything that has happened, but I moved home, visited Spain for my first time, worked at camp in Colorado for the 4th summer in a row, began student teaching, picked running back up, got a fitbit, and lived a whole lot!
I am presently in Spain for my second time visiting my future in-laws. Through the luxury of the internet, I am simultaneously participating in 12 credit hours of graduate courses while intermittently traveling around Spain with my fiance.
And now, the reason while I am writing today, my weekly blog post:
I was in pursuit of information on the value of Webquests in the classroom, but simply could not find an article that fit the bill for my blog post this week. Hopefully, through some research, I will discover the findings in which I am hoping for. This week, by mere accident I stumbled on an article that actually made me very excited.
In light of our world of social media, we have been provided avenues to discover a wealth of information, especially information that is “trending.” While social media and the Internet have provided people this constant stream of information both nationally and internationally, this information is not always reliable. According to Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor (2016), educational technology company, Newsela has announced its commitment to helping schools produce “media literate students.”
A new mission, of an educational technology company, that I was already fond of for it’s digital leveled reading resources, is now on a mission to assist students in deciphering between news that is fake and news that is real. This source provides students and teachers with primary sources that are presented in five different reading levels.
Following the election season, fake news became a hot topic. Social media enables this fake news to live and thrive. Each share of these fake articles perpetuates the cycle of misinformation. Gorman (2016) suggests that “Fake news became so widely circulated, in fact, that it’s estimated fake news stories out-circulated real news in the final months of the election.”
This coupled with recent research from Standford University (2016), which suggests that “many students are unaware of basic conventions for indicating verified digital information.” As an educator this is alarming. There were 8,000 students from the United States interviewed, most of whom have been raised in this digital world, and yet many of them are unable to verify if a source is credible or not. Not only is this an important life skill, but in the classroom, an important research skill.
In order to address this in Newsela’s commitment to end misinformation, the company has partnered with the American Press Institute. They have developed six questions in which young readers must always ask themselves when they come across news.
These questions and more have been culminated into a Media Literacy Toolkit to help teachers foster discussions about this matter in their classroom. This helps teachers encourage their students to seek the truth just as much as journalists must do so. They begin to work with concepts like distinguishing fact and opinion.
Ideally, this partnership could give students the skills to address fake news as well as become increasingly more active in their reading. I see this benefiting students in more ways than one. They become more informed in the classroom as well as in their personal life. In addition, they gain skills in reading primary sources. In my experience, this is an area where students of all levels tend to struggle.
This news excites me and I cannot wait to integrate it into my own classroom!
To view articles referenced in this blog post, please follow the hyperlinks in the content of the post.
Is fake news a problem in your classroom, what about your personal life? Post about your experiences in the comments.