Tips on Teaching Students How to Identify Fake News


Tips on Teaching Students How to Identify Fake News

Fake news is becoming a growing concern across the world.

One has to admit that, there is indeed too much of yellow journalism, misinformation and transmission in the present world.

The worrying factor about misinformation is spreaders of fake news are increasingly making use of sophisticated methods to spread illicit information. The information is presented in such a way that they appear real and is indeed difficult to identify fact from fiction[i]. Such information is meant to do harm, it is tricking one to believe a lie or unfairly discrediting a person or political movement. This is the reason why, students must learn to approach news and information with a critical eye so that they can recognize intentionally misleading sources.

Legal scholars, social scientists and researchers are coming together in global call to action as a step to fight against “fake news.” More education scholars are of the view that, at present, more youth are duped by sponsored content and are unable to recognize political bias of social messages. In a report published by the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG)[ii], it ‘shows a dismaying inability by students to reason about information they see on the internet, the authors said. Students, for example, had a hard time distinguishing advertisements from news articles or identifying where information came from.’

Teachers need to play a critical role in ensuring that their students advance the skills to understand various streams of information available to them. So here we take a closer look at some teaching strategies that will help you explain students how they will be able to identify fake news.

1. In order to search for credible websites, type in “org” or “edu” into the search bar. Make sure you are using the double quotation marks as well.

2. Search for sites which are affiliated with the article that one is reading. This information can be usually found in the “About us” section.

3. In order to check the validity of what one is reading, look out for website like Snopes.com or Factcheck.org. This sites help check the authenticity of facts.

4. Check if the writing of the article is of inferior quality, such as misspellings, grammar errors and bold claims without any sources to back them up.

5. Check out if the URLs and Websites that end in something like.com.co may at all be a legit site.

Few More Handy Suggestions

a) Start Teaching Students How to Identify Bias- to do so, make use of tools such like media bias chart as it brings forth the starting point of any source. Showing this information to the students can help them to understand that all sources come from a particular perspective.

b) Move Beyond the Traditional and Often Ineffective, Information Evaluation Checklists- when one is doing a fact check, make sure you do not use the traditional and often ineffective checklist such like RADCAP, CRAAP and CARS because such fall short when applied to the sophisticated tools and techniques that are used to create fake news or malicious content.

c) Make Sure to Bring Forth Real-World Fake News Examples – This helps students get better idea of what is ‘fake’ and what is authentic information. Students can also be challenged to apply skills and techniques that help them authenticate situations, like determining the true origin of a viral image or video and examining trolls, bots, and also understand the hallmark of fake and malicious social media accounts.

d) Help Students Grow Investigative Techniques- Teachers can start explaining the students the professional fact checking strategies such as reading laterally, cross referencing multiple other website to check if the information is from a reputable organization. Further, students should also learn the strategy to check the source of any information and the author. Ensure that you make your students familiarized with information verification websites such like- FactsCan, org, Snopes and Hoax Slayer and tools like Google very own “Search by image as they are supportive tools in the long run.

Finally, check that your students are making their search thorough. One of the ways to do so is to search for completeness by using specific terms or general terms. They need to make use of such specific and general terms while researching on information. By cross checking facts by searching multiple sites gives students a better chance to come across authentic and quality information. in order to check the timeliness of the information, students must check the publication date as well as fact check what they are reading and if the link of the information is up-to-date or dead.

Please refer the video reference below to find out how schools are now teaching kids to spot fake information/news.


[i]The new Psychology of Fake News

[ii]Stanford researchers find students have trouble judging the credibility of information online

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About the Author
Author: Ananya DebroyWebsite: http://edtechreview.in
Ananya is currently working as the Content Manager at EdTechReview. She has a keen interest in Ed Tech and the ways in which it is strengthening the education sector as a whole. She is an avid reader and loves to meet relevant people & unleash new updates on various innovations in the EdTech world as it indirectly helps her pen down well-researched blogs on the niche. Follow her @AnanyaDebRoy

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