‘Fake News’ or ‘False News’ and the need of skills to deal with it

Adults have problems deciphering truth from falsehoods as information is twisted and changed to compete with different ideologies and competing voices. How much more do our students need to be skilled in discerning truth from fabricated or twisted information. This is where information literacy skills need to be embedded into all aspects of the curriculum and practice given under guidance. It is the role of the Teacher Librarian to assist in this.

Some good ideas for initial activities to make students aware of how easy it is to believe false news are given in this article in the NY Times: Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News by 

This New Yorker Cartoon by  says it all!

Evaluating the quality of online information

In her post on the Edutopia Blog, Julie Coiro, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Rhode Island, suggests ways to develop skills in adolescents dealing with online information.

“An essential part of online research is the ability to critically evaluate information. This includes the ability to read and evaluate its level of accuracy, reliability and bias.”

Four strategies are outlined to assist in developing these skills of discernment.
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An Information Literate School Community

Did you know the Teacher Librarian can wear up to 500 hats? Barbara Braxton is working her way through a description of each and today’s ‘Hat’ is both informative and challenging. Read about The Information Literacy Hat on her blog 500 Hats.

Info LiteracyAn ILSC is one that “places a high priority (policy, benchmarking, funding and evaluation) on the pursuit of teacher and student mastery of the processes of being informed,” (Henri, 2005, p12). ..

…Students will need to be able to survive and thrive in an information-saturated and technology-rich environment, and be independent, creative thinkers, making informed decisions based on careful evaluation and interpretation of available information, developing expertise through experience, and be lifelong learners. They need to be information literate.

Google search tips

Students have a lot of difficulty composing search terms to find relevant information at the top of the list. So many students these days just type a question and expect a full answer.

This post on the Educators Technology blog explains many tips for searching. They have used the tips from Lifehacker.com to make a poster that I will certainly use for the Information Skills seminars for our students next week.
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Year 3 share their Guided Inquiry experience with their parents

Last Friday afternoon two classes of excited Year 3 students came to the IRC with their parents to show them their work. After the teachers spoke of how the Guided Inquiry process had worked for them in practice, some of the students’ Vokis were demonstrated on the whiteboard. The parents then spent time with their child looking at their bookwork, their PowerPoints and their Vokis.

The students had used the Guided Inquiry process, with Teacher Librarian support, to investigate their personally selected aspect of the human body. Besides learning about the Human Body they also learned a lot of reading skills, writing skills, thinking skills and ICT skills.

Books were the main source of information as our IRC collection has so many good books suitable for this age group. The students read a lot about the human body before selecting their favourite aspect to study. Writing their own questions was a lot of fun and some fabulous ideas emerged!

The practical science experiments for this unit were also suggested and created by the students!

Finally after they had investigated and written answers to their questions, they made a PowerPoint to teach the other students about their work. Then, for fun, they made a Voki summary. This also incidentally taught them a lot about spelling and punctuation as they tried to make their computer generated avatars ‘speak’ their presentations.

Cardboard projects of the past cannot be compared to this exciting learning process!

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Social Media – like you’ve never had it explained before – visually!

Social Media Explained Visually by Say it Visually! This entertaining, well constructed explanation of social media is worth a visit.

In explaining Social Media :

“Its basically this unpredictable worldwide network of conversations that’s just exploding! They cover big topics like news and events and the little things that mass media missed and all that mass media content is getting pulled into these conversations. We are getting more and more information and entertainment from each other.”

21Century Skills Framework for Project Based Learning

The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) is dedicated to improving 21st Century teaching and learning throughout the world by creating and disseminating products, practices and knowledge for effective Project Based Learning (PBL).

This skills framework contains definitions for each skill and sets them against the focus for which it needs to be developed. Project based learning has much in common with the Guided Inquiry approach we follow at Broughton and these definitions assist in making some of the 21C skills ‘jargon’ clear as more teachers learn new pedagogues.

Critical Thinking Skills – Evaluating information under the surface

This series of video clips by technyou were funded by the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Training to think critically can be carried out through the integration of Information Skills across the curriculum. The Teacher Librarian plays a major role in enabling this by teaching collaboratively with teachers across curriculum areas and integrating critical thinking skills into the synthesis of information to build new arguments and knowledge to share creatively.

Critical Thinking Part 1: A Valuable Argument

Critical Thinking Part 2 : Broken Logic

Critical Thinking Part 3 : The Man who was Made of Straw

Critical Thinking Part 4 : Getting Personal

Critical Thinking Part 5 : The Gambler’s Fallacy

Critical Thinking Part 6 : A Precautionary Tale

Web tools for Inquiry Based Learning: Guided Inquiry

The Eduwebinar site has published a page of tools to support Inquiry Based Learning. These are organised by the steps of the Guided Inquiry process as set out in Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School by Carol C Kuhlthau, Leslie K Maniotes and Anne K Caspari.

For each step there are tools listed and linked to support learning – organising search strategies, organising information, presenting conclusions and supporting the evaluation of Inquiry Learning.

Check those Social Media basics!

Most of us are aware that there are many Social Media traps, pitfalls and netiquettes to learn about. Click this image link to a great reminder or indicator of some less obvious aspects of Social Media. It contains 25 different features that we need learn about!