Teachers are at the forefront of the battle to fight misinformation and disinformation. Every day they have opportunities to help students learn to use critical thinking skills to analyze news and social media in their lives. However, they may not have the digital skills or knowledge of journalism to do this. The skills and tools they need to learn are not being taught by the school librarian.
My news and social media literacy program called “A Journalist’s Toolbox to Fight Fake News” can help educators learn:
- To define fake news, the forms it can take and the motivation for it.
- The history of fake news.
- Why it’s a phenomenon now in our society.
- How to relate the fake news of today to historical events.
- To identify types of media and develop a vocabulary to discuss media terms.
- To understand the development of Deepfake and Cheapfake video, to think critically about AI apps such as Zao and TikTok and to examine privacy issues.
- The hallmarks of legitimate news.
- How to identify and evaluate reliable sources online.
- How to fact check stories and sources.
- How to identify and evaluate media bias.
- How to trace photos and information back to the original sources.
- Examine how social media affected the 2016 election and what social media companies and the government are planning for the 2020 election.
In the fall of 2018, I taught my program to 56 high school language arts and social studies teachers at Montclair High School in New Jersey. In the spring, the district invited me back to work with its middle school teachers and librarians. In the fall of 2019, I worked with South Plainfield and North Arlington School Districts as well.
I can tailor the program to all grades, skill levels and time frames.