The definition of Digital Literacy from teachthought.com says that “digital literacy is the ability to interpret and design nuanced communication across fluid digital forms.” Digital literacy is not only crucial for everyone to have but is especially an important skill to be taught inside and outside of the classroom. Now more than ever, students and educators alike, are depending on the web for a wide variety of information and resources. We must understand digital literacy as it becomes more of an essential ability in our world today.
I am currently enrolled in the Secondary program with a major in Health, and minors in Social Studies and Inclusive Education. I feel as though the concept of digital literacy is something that will play a significant role in high school classrooms when I am teaching in one of my own. Students are exposed to a wide variety of technology such as iPads, Chromebooks, Laptops, and even their personal cellphones. Along with technology, high school students also use technological programs such as Twitter, Google, and Youtube, to name a few. With using technology and the applications that come with them, it is essential that students and educators are aware of online safety and can tell the legitimacy of whatever it is that they are using. With legitimacy comes fake news, which has a more substantial online presence now than it ever has before.
Fake news is news or stories created to deliberately misinform or deceive readers. It is something that we must teach our students about because it is becoming more prominent in the online world to easily trust everything we read. We must help educate our students that not everything they read online is reliable, accurate, and valid information. It is just as essential to give them the proper learning and tools to help them filter the truth online, from the trash.
- Move beyond traditional – and often ineffective – information evaluation checklists
- Prioritize helping students develop investigative techniques
- Teach students to identify bias using tools like a media bias chart
- Bring real-world fake news examples that we encounter everyday into the classroom.
Another resource that can help teach students to identify fake news is through the Five C’s of Critical Consuming. The video is nice and short but provides a strong message and learning tool throughout. The Five C’s of Critical Consuming are:
- Context- When was it written? Where does it come from? Have the events changed since then?
- Credibility- Does the site have integrity? Does the author cite? Is it an advertisement posing as a news story?
- Construction- What is the bias? Any propaganda?
- Corroboration- Make sure it isn’t the only source making the claim.
- Compare- Compare to other credible sources.
In terms of the Saskatchewan Curriculum, digital literacy can be related to many subjects. In my own opinion, as long as some sort of technology is being used in any subject, digital literacy can be incorporated and related to the subject area. Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, you name it, digital literacy can and will play a role in each one. When teaching about digital literacy, it is vital that teachers are educated on it themselves, and treat it as a serious subject matter, not just something that is looked at once, and never again (similar to online safety). Students need to know that the internet isn’t always fun and that there are times when being online can be scary. Show them a variety of news articles with different headlines, and have them distinguish real from fake. You would be surprised at what leads students to sometimes think that something as complex as a news headline is real when it is indeed fake.
There is an article written by the NCTE that discusses ways to make students aware of the dangers of providing information from unreliable sources. They talk about how students used things such as online media, blackboards, and mobile devices to help them in their learning. These goals can be incorporated into our own classrooms by having students do an online search and create presentations with their findings, using blackboards as a vote whether a source is reliable or not from its title or website, or even have students use their own mobile devices to share.
Digital literacy is critical to teach to our students and is something that they will use both in and out of the classroom. Providing learning opportunities with digital literacy will allow our students to be comfortable in distinguishing between what is real and fake that they see online, ultimately helping them see Beyond Fake News while ensuring their own personal safety too.
How are you helping deconstruct digital literacy in your own classroom?