Recently California State Assemblyman Gomez introduced AB 155, which states: “This bill would require the Instructional Quality Commission to develop, and the state board to adopt, revised curriculum standards and frameworks for English language arts, mathematics, history-social science, and science that incorporate civic online reasoning, as defined.”
The impetus of this bill is the proliferation of fake news, as evidenced in 2016. While fake news has always been part of the (dis)information picture, social media and campaign documents have highlighted its impact. The 2016 Stanford report on evaluating information found that most students, even in higher education, have difficulty discerning online media such as fake news.
Schools need to insure that their students become information and communications technology (ICT) literate. Especially as fake news and other misinformation can occur in all parts of the curriculum and daily life (e.g., get rich scams, science, fad diets), critical thinking should be integrated strategically into their program’s scope and sequence. As information professionals, school librarians are well positioned to help their school communities become information literate. Some basic strategies that students should practice include:
- Use criteria to evaluate news and other information sources
- Use fact-checking sites
- Read reputable sources
- Look for different perspectives to discern alternative claims and evidence
- Practice media literacy
- Minimize sharing questionable news
- Support and engage in high-quality journalism.
As part of my work, I manage California State University’s ICT Literacy Project, which facilitates faculty incorporation of ICT literacy into the curriculum. The home base of this project is MERLOT, which collects learning objects and fosters educational community. The ICT Literacy portal contains resources and training, and links to relevant bookmark collections such as Fake News and Media Literacy.
Want to get the ball rolling with your faculty? Share this story by Scott Shane in the New York Times Jan. 18, 2017: From headline to photograph, a fake news masterpiece.
Here are some specific resources that may be useful in helping students become discerning news consumers.
- University of Washington LibGuide on evaluating fake news.
- Stanford History Education Group. (2016). Evaluating information: The cornerstone of civic online reasoning. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University.
- Pew Research Center. (Dec. 15, 2016). Many Americans believe fake news is sowing confusion.
- DeWitt, P. (Nov. 22, 2016). Do educators need media literacy as much as students do? Ed Week.
- Greller, J. (Jan. 1, 2017). Can your students spot fake news? Here are 48 Links to Help.
- Schulten, K. (Oct. 2, 2015). Skills and strategies / fake news vs. real news: Determining the reliability of sources. New York Times.
- Valenza, J. (Nov. 26, 2016). Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world. NeverEnding Search.
More Professional Development on Fake News
Watch Lesley’s webinar, Don’t Get Faked Out by the News, available now on AASL eCOLLAB. Access is open to all members of the profession through end of day March 2, 2017. After March 2, the webinar will be available to AASL members and eCOLLAB subscribers. Not an AASL member or eCOLLAB subscriber? Join or subscribe today to access Don’t Get Faked Out by the News and more than 200 pieces of AASL professional development!
Watch the archived webinar Post-Truth: Fake News and a New Era of Information Literacy from Programming Librarian, a website of the ALA Public Programs Office. The webinar is presented by Nicole A. Cooke, MS/LIS Program Director of the iSchool at Illinois and an assistant professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Author: Lesley S. J. Farmer
Dr. Lesley Farmer, Professor at California State University (CSU) Long Beach, coordinates the Librarianship program. She also manages the CSU ICT Literacy Project. She earned her M.S. in Library Science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and received her doctorate in Adult Education from Temple University. Dr. Farmer chairs the IFLA’s School Libraries Section, and is a Fulbright scholar. A frequent presenter and writer for the profession, she won American Library Association’s Phi Beta Mu Award for library education and the International Association of School Librarianship Commendation Award. Dr. Farmer’s research interests include digital citizenship, information literacy, collaboration, assessment and data analysis. Her most recent books are Library Improvement through Data Analytics (ALA, 2016) and Managing the Successful School Library (ALA, 2017).