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The Sift uses recent rumors, hoaxes and other misinformation to bring you the best teachable moments in news literacy. Includes ideas for class, discussion questions with links to articles and videos. Sign up to get a weekly newsletter.
The Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University is committed to teaching students how to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and news sources. The Digital Resource Center includes curriculum, lectures, and exercises. The Center also created a free Coursera News Literacy Online Course.
Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a nonprofit research institute that conducts scholarly studies about students and how they find, evaluate, and select information for use in their courses and for solving information problems in everyday life.
MediaWise is led by The Poynter Institute in partnership with Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), Local Media Association (LMA) and the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). Initial funding was provided by Google.org as part of the Google News Initiative.
Ten-part video series. Curriculum of hands-on skills to help students evaluate the information they read online. Created in partnership with MediaWise, The Poynter Institute, and The Stanford History Education Group. Hosted by author John Green.
There are many ways you can teach news literacy skills to your students. The Teaching Resources box has many resources, but this box also shares a few practical sample lessons that you can use in your classes.
Have the students circle the words in the article that seem extreme, evoke a strong emotion, or indicate a bias.
If using this activity online, copy and paste the text into Google Docs and have students annotate and comment in the document.
Discuss: what did you find? How would you describe the tone of the article? Do you feel the author was trying to persuade you to choose "their side"? How does the language used affect the credibility of the article?
Idea 1: Have students replicate part of the Reboot Foundation report by discussing their own confidence in detecting unreliable websites. Then, have them peruse two websites (here and here) to decide if they can be trusted. Challenge students to defend their reasoning before revealing that neither website is a reliable source of information. In fact, both are funded by groups with significant conflicts of interest, despite efforts to appear objective. Refer to the REboot study for a more detailed overview of why these websites should not be trusted.
Idea 2: Ask students to discuss online habits with older relatives and compare how they determine what information can be trusted. Do both the students and their older relatives always read content carefully before sharing it on social media? Or have students take the News Literacy Project's “Should you share it?” quiz and compare their results with those of older relatives.
Pew Center Research (2020) found that Americans are as likely to often turn to independent channels as they are to established news organization channels; videos from independent news producers are more likely to cover subjects negatively, discuss conspiracy theories.
Alison J. Head, John Wihbey, P. Takis Metaxas, Margy MacMillan, and Dan Cohen, “How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians,” Project Information Literacy Research Institute. (October 16, 2018).
This lead article from the PIL Team in the August 2019 First Monday issue asks: How can college students and young voters be prepared with the information skills they need to assess news quality and credibility of the information found online and in print as the threats of “fake news,” propaganda, and bias multiply and intensify?
(2020) Qualitative findings from 16 focus groups with 103 undergraduates and interviews with 37 faculty members from eight U.S. colleges and universities, includes four takeaways and four recommendations.
“Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms: Student Experiences with News and Information, and the Need for Change,” Alison J. Head, Barbara Fister, and Margy MacMillan, Project Information Literacy Research Institute. January 15, 2020.