Thing 14/2017: News Literacy

The interest in this topic is not only very timely based on the news climate, especially with the injection of politics, but also because I’ll be presenting about this topic in about a month to other teachers AND because there have been a few new great resources from others that continually contribute to “making sense” of news literacy.

I’ll start though with reflecting on some of the articles shared in the Cool Tools post including Valenza article from SLJ, but I didn’t find it nearly as helpful as some of the others that provided lists (my new favorite word is listicle after learning about it through my #edublogsclub challenge) providing questions and helpful approaches with students. Yet, as much as we’re needing to find ways to educate our students, these are helpful for anyone, including myself to be reminded of or provide a better way of approaching an article.

“The Six Principles Behind News Literacy” as well “False, Misleading, and Clickbait-y and/or Satirical News Sources” provided some much-needed definitions and understanding but the most basic of all of the reminders is that free expression is the foundation of our democracy. It is our job to work through and understand the information given to us because the information should keep coming (and as one article mentioned, it doubles approximately every few years) because we have the freedom to disseminate, create, share, and speak. Every rally both locally and nationally has shown students that we must speak up and speak out.

The other recommendation was about reinventing current events. I like this approach. Have students bring in current event articles (as they relate to a specific course or in any capacity to be able to infuse news literacy into the curriculum and take responsibility for its instruction) and then asking students to discuss intelligently things like who produced and what was its purpose? How can you verify the information or does it document sources within the article? These and many other questions are good approaches and absolutely bring current events to the 21st century.

Last, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, I’d like to also share two additional images that help us understand news literacy. One is from Eric Devine’s blog where he “pumps up the volume” and shares a great graphic about news sources and their bias. The other has already been shared around, but for the sake of bringing it all together, our favorite Library Girl shared “Tips for Spotting Fake News” which is another well-organized graphic around the topic.

No matter what, this is a topic that needs to stay and be revisited often. And the concluding thought is that it must be taught. It is not something that gets developed over time, the instruction must be explicit, whether it’s discussing an edited image or talking about the credibility of an author, this conversation must continue so that everyone can be effective users of information.

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