Teaching Newsletter: One Way to Fight Fake News

Dan Berrett, Beth McMurtrie, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov 10, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article covers a study (covered here October 29) explaining how fact checkers are more able than studens or historians to spot fake news. I'm not sure why the Chronicle is two weeks late with this story. Anyhow, it makes a good point: "The students and historians tended to read 'vertically,' the report notes, delving deeply into a website in their efforts to determine its credibility." Right. What's key is the method: "That, the researchers point out, is more or less the approach laid out in many checklists designed to help students use the internet well, which tend to suggest looking at particular features of a website to evaluate its trustworthiness. This is why I complain (for example, here) about the 'pop' critical thinking found so often on education sites. The fact checkers, um, check facts - and don't rely on tone, source, motive and how it makes you feel. A checklist is not enough. Image of a checklist: National Geographic.

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