I taught my 5th-graders how to spot fake news. Now they won’t stop fact-checking me.
These days there is a whole new set of rules when it comes to how kids look at and read information. It used to be that kids got most of their information from reliable books such as encyclopedias and reference materials from the library. Now, with kids getting most of their information, it's more important than ever to teach kids how to read news critically. And that is exactly what one teacher in Southern California did, but it was only after she had realized she hadn't properly taught all of her students how to test the reliability of a source.
It was a fall day in 2014, and her classroom was full of excitement. Her students had transformed themselves into historical figures for a living history project they had been working on. The teacher was going to broadcast it online so that other schools could watch the classes Age of Exploration News Conference live. One-half of the class had researched and dressed up as European explorers like Christopher Columbus. And the other half acted as news reporters from all the major outlets ready with questions. It was the teachers attempt to bring history to life. The boy was acting as Ferdinand Magellan, the first person traditionally credited with circumnavigating the globe. Andy stood up tall and leaned into the mic ready to face the media and acting as Ferdinand Magellan he asked if there were any questions. One child asked what he was famous for and when he had done much of his exploration. To which Andy's character replied that Well, I am famous for sailing around the world in 1972. The class at that point started to laugh. To his credit, he bounced back from the laughter and the embarrassment he felt and finished his news conference. The teacher pulled Andy aside later and asked where he had found his information. Andy said he had Googled it, and he had been researching online and felt so confident that his answer was accurate. It was then that the teacher felt that she hadn't properly taught him how to test the reliability of a source.
To make sure she wouldn’t have any student in the same situation as Andy ever again, she started asking her students to examine the seven different elements of a news article. If the information checks out on each of these seven points, it has a high likelihood of being accurate. Still, passing the test is not a guarantee that the information is fact.
1. Copyright. Check the bottom of the webpage to see if the information has been submitted for ownership.
2. Verification with multiple sources. Students should always double check the information on a few different web pages.
3. Credibility of source, such as between History.com versus a random unknown source. Check if the source has been recently created.
4. The date published. Check how recently the page was updated to see how current the information is and whether any of the information has changed.
5. Author's expertise and background with the subject. Students should always check if the author is someone who has dedicated time and effort to learning this subject.
6. Does it match your prior knowledge? Determine if the the information matches up with what you have learned before.
7. Does the information seem realistic? This is where you can use common sense. And ask whether or not something seems authentic or probable.
This is just one of the stories you will find on the Vox site. Other trending topics you will find include videos, culture, the world, celebrity recent news, business, science, celebrity rumors and more. **
Learn MORE at Vox
To help with slow website load, we have put all photos for this article here: View photo gallery.