5 Handy Tools that Combat Fake News and Create Informed Citizens

Civic engagement is one of the latest education buzzwords. But for many of you, prepping kids to be engaged, informed, and knowledgeable citizens has always been job one. So it’s good to see the rest of the Ed world climbing on board.  Part of the task of creating civically engaged citizens is training them to be savvy consumers of online information. And back in the olden times of the World Wide Webs, say around 2008, it wasn’t super difficult to make sense of content that we ran across.  But there are tools available to make your task a bit easier. So . . . today? Five tools and strategies that combat fake news and create informed citizens.

1.  Train your students to know the difference between biased news and fake news.Just like all primary sources, all real news is biased. We all bring our own world views to the table whenever we create any sort of content.  Part of your discussion with kids needs to center around identifying individual bias. We’re all susceptible to confirmation and implicit bias.

2.  Once kids are beginning to question their own biases and the bias of others, share a few tech tools that can help as they’re online.  Start with a Google Chrome browser extension called Trusted News for Google Chrome. It claims that they are “your first step in the fight against fake news. Trusted News uses independent, transparent, and neutral sources to assess news sites. We aim to help you cast a more critical eye over the news by rating for fake, questionable or trustworthy news.

3.  Surfsafe is a similar type of browser extension. Install it using the Google Web Store and once activated, it analyzes images that appear on the web sites that you visit. SurfSafe uses the news sites you trust, along with fact checking pages and user reports as benchmarks for what images are considered “safe”. Hover over an image, and SurfSafe will classify the image as “safe”, “warning”, or “unsafe”.

4.  Fake News Wakelet  I (Glenn Wiebe) put together a quick list of helpful resources that can help you design and deliver fake news and bias lessons.

5.  Stanford History Education Group Online Civic Literacy  SHEG has had great stuff for years. Last November, they created and posted a series of activities that help you and students develop strong online literacy skills. These assessments show students online content – a webpage, a conversation on Facebook, or the comment section of a news article – and ask them to reason about that content.

The information for this post was taken from an article by Glenn Wiebe in TECH & LEARNING, follow this link for the complete article and a lot more informational links.