Identifying Fake News

By Karen Conen on Mon, 12/5/2016
Picture of member, Karen Conen

Karen Conen
SAFARI Montage Content Manager, SAFARI Montage

Can you identify fake news on the internet? Can your students? Researchers at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education have spent over a year compiling data about how well students evaluate online sources of information. Unfortunately, the results are quite bleak. For example, more than 80% of middle schoolers believed that “sponsored content” represented real news stories and 80% of high schoolers did not understand the importance of verifying the validity of photographs with no attribution.

Looking for resources to help your students critically evaluate online resources? Check out the following assets available on SAFARI Montage.

Evaluating Sources (Schlessinger Media) - Finding the right answers and best available research means knowing how to evaluate information. What are the author's credentials? Is he or she credible? Is the information accurate and relevant to the focus or question? Is the information up to date? At every stage of the research process, exploring these questions leads to sources that result in success. Mastering the skills of evaluation means a lifetime of having the best information for making decisions in today's information age.

Using the Internet (Schlessinger Media) - students will learn about the different ways they can find information online by using subject directories, subscription databases and specific search engines designed for kids. Students will also gain an understanding of how to generate effective search strategies and how best to evaluate Web sites as they conduct research. This program will also help students understand how to use the Internet safely and responsibly to get the results they need.

Searching the Internet (Schlessinger Media) - Billions of pieces of online information from all forms of media - Web sites, books, newspapers, audio and video - are all just a click away. It can seem impossible to sort through it all to find what we need. Successful Internet searching is strategic Internet searching - selecting the best methods and tools to find answers to our questions. Using both the free Web and the invisible Web, students will learn how to focus, strategize, refine and evaluate their research throughout the search process. From formulating a solid query to understanding when and how to best use search engines, metasearch engines, subject directories, portals and subscription databases, access to the world - or, at least, the World Wide Web - is within easy reach.

Using Critical Thinking to Find Trustworthy Websites (Teaching Channel) – A web link to the professional development video from Teaching Channel which features a lesson supported by the Common Core, wherein students use critical thinking skills to evaluate the credibility of online sources of information in support of a persuasive research project.

Also, be sure to check out these timely videos and add them to your SAFARI Montage Learning Object Repository for use school or district-wide:

How to Spot Fake News - A timely video which provides points to consider before sharing news or photographs found on the internet.

How False News Can Spread - A video from TED-Ed, which explains how false news can spread so quickly via circular reporting.

Have you come across any other resources on this topic that you are utilizing in your classroom? If yes, upload them to your SAFARI Montage server and share them with your students and colleagues!