Media literacy is a valuable skill that too often does not receive the attention it deserves. With a lot of talk around fake news, we must prepare our students with the information necessary to identify fake news. Some articles are easier to spot than others, but media literacy is also about reading through unintended bias and picking out only the facts. In order to help our students, here are a few things we can start doing in the classroom.
Read Fake News Together
One of the best ways of learning how to spot fake news is by actually reading some of it. There’s no better tactic to spot what you’re looking for other than experiencing what fake news looks like. Read a few articles together and discuss what make the article “fake.” Read everything from the blatantly obvious to the subtle. The more exposure and practice our students have, the better.
Write Your Own Fake News
Use fake news as a writing prompt. Challenge your students to write their own fake news. Let them decide if it’s going to be an obvious fake news article or something much more subtle. This is a creative and fun way to wrap their heads around how and why fake news is spread.
Another easy exercise to do in the classroom is a side by side comparison. Simply take one article and put it next to another that you have made changes too. Let the class decide which one is fake and which on is real. Then you can discuss the implications of spreading information that isn’t accurate.
The biggest point to hit home is sourcing. Journalistic integrity comes from the use of appropriate sourcing. Much like when they write their own papers, some sources are deemed acceptable and others are not. Identify sources within fake news articles that are not valid sources and then discuss why they aren’t.