[kids-lib] Fake News & Information / Media Literacy

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Wed Nov 23 11:17:27 PST 2016

Many of you may be interested in the following email that was just sent out on the listserv for school libraries, especially those of you who do a lot of homework help or have tutors working with students in your library.—Katie

Fake news sites have become a problem, and a lot is being written about them right now. Here are a few articles, resources, and a video that caught my eye. Most either show that students need help evaluating online (all!) information or offer suggestions for what to teach students.

In Education Week's “Why Students Can’t Google Their Way to the Truth,” the authors note that the “research we've conducted at Stanford University supports these findings [of lack of evaluative skills]. Over the past 18 months, we administered assessments that tap young people's ability to judge online information. We analyzed over 7,804 responses from students in middle school through college. At every level, we were taken aback by students' lack of preparation: middle school students unable to tell the difference between an advertisement and a news story; high school students taking at face value a cooked-up chart from the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee; college students credulously accepting a .org top-level domain name as if it were a Good Housekeeping seal.” The article goes on to list three things they've noticed that fact-checkers do, and then notes that "none of this is rocket science. But it's often not taught in school. In fact, some schools have special filters that direct students to already vetted sites, effectively creating a generation of bubble children who never develop the immunities needed to ward off the toxins that float across their Facebook feeds, where students most often get their news. This approach protects young people from the real world rather than preparing them to deal with it." I haven't read it yet, but I noticed a second article called, "Do Educators Need Media Literacy as Much as Students Do?"


The Wall Street Journal recently posted an interesting article, "Most Students Don't Know When News is Fake, Stanford Study Finds," in which they state this as potential issues: "However, fewer schools now have librarians, who traditionally taught research skills. And media literacy has slipped to the margins in many classrooms, to make room for increased instruction in basic reading and math skills."


This video is from a group in Sweden and strives to illustrate the different outcomes when folks fact check versus carelessly spread fake news.


These two posts and additional resources offer ideas for teaching students how to evaluate sources and to be media literate. In the Middle Web article, the author shares the following after listing advice from another source: "I’d add another one here: students who receive these fake news posts should challenge the sender of the message. I think we need to make those 'media illiterate' consumers more aware of their role in spreading untruths. Students can help."

Knowledge Quest blog: http://knowledgequest.aasl.org/information-literacy-lessons-crucial-post-truth-world/
Middle Web: http://www.middleweb.com/33386/students-need-our-help-detecting-fake-news/
Center for Media Literacy: http://www.medialit.org/educator-resourceshttp://www.medialit.org/educator-resources
National Association for Media Literacy Education: https://namle.net/category/resources/
More resources, gathered by Media Literacy Now: http://medialiteracynow.org/resources/

If you have any go-to resources on this topic, please share with us on the listserv.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Jennifer Maurer
School Library Consultant
Oregon State Library
250 Winter St. NE
Salem, OR 97301
jennifer.maurer at state.or.us<mailto:jennifer.maurer at state.or.us>

OSLIS | www.oslis.org<http://www.oslis.org>
Learn to research. Research to learn.

Katie Anderson, MLS, Youth Services Consultant
Library Support and Development Services<http://www.oregon.gov/osl/LD/pages/index.aspx>
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528
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