Real vs. Fake News

Tonight I’m joining with Margaret Simon and the #digilit community to consider real vs. fake news and how we can educate our children to decipher the difference.

digilit sunday


The task is daunting.  It really is.

The Oxford English Dictionary  named the 2016 word of the year. “Post Truth”.  No joke.

As an educated adult with a master’s degree, and credentials, I struggled over the past six months to live my life, do the important work of school and students and teachers and parents, stay connected to family, and keep up with the media coverage of the recent election. It was unusual at best. It wasn’t until the dust settled that the idea of fake news began to rise to the fore. Many were duped. News stories flew. We trusted them as we used to trust Ted Koppel, and our parents or grandparents trusted Walter Cronkite to deliver fact-checked stories. Stories that were true.

But today, January 15th, 2017, we know better.

If you’ve ever been involved in a news story. You’ve ever been part of a story written and published by a credible news source, you understand the inconvenience and sometimes pain of inaccuracy. Errors in reported news stories are frustrating and disappointing. We depend upon our media to deliver. To deliver the best rendition of fact and evidence and truth they can. But they fall short.


SHEG works to help teachers teach students to determine fake news

Stanford History Education Group’s (SHEG’s) Sam Weinburg and Sarah McGrew published this article citing their research on how susceptible high school and college students are to fake news. It’s too easy, given current technology, to create websites and “studies” that purport news or statistics to support an agenda, but are not really “truth.”  SHEG has some great ideas about how to help students learn to question media to determine the credibility of the source, and accuracy of the information shared.

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Our institutions of learning cannot afford to do anything but jump head-long into the fray. We must learn, post haste, how to determine the credibility of a website, page, article or post. We must teach our children from the earliest of ages to question, inquire, and to think critically about what they read, see,  or hear.

This has always been the case, but somehow today it seems even more critical. It begins with educating ourselves about how to question. What more can we do? Here are a few tips:

  1. Read like a fact checker.
  2. Commit to checking the source of information before sharing online or in conversation as “truth”.
  3. Think about who the author is and why they are writing (filming, sharing) the information.
  4. Remember SNOPES?
  5. Including something we read on Facebook, or on a less than legitimate news source as truth in our small circles of conversation and growing body of beliefs can have serious implications. (Think Pizzagate.)  How about we decide to do better?  How about we decide to keep an open mind, check sources and slants?
  6. Check this NPR article on best practices for reading online.

How are you reading in the era of “fake” news?





About Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be You

Principal at the School at the north end of Los Angeles Harbor where AWESOME happens. Working to make the world a little more wonder-full.
This entry was posted in close reading, digilit sunday, Truths and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Real vs. Fake News

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Thanks for joining the conversation with your thoughts and resources. It is something we need to tune in to and teach our students to do better.

    Liked by 1 person

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