Fake news: Teachers capitalize on kids’ interest

San Jose Mercury

Last year’s presidential campaign shed quite a bit of light on the emergence of fake news sites and their ability to mislead the public. So how do we ensure that future generations can recognize them and be cautious about the validity of content they see online? A recent story from Sharon Noguchi of the San Jose Mercury News highlights how several teachers in the Bay Area are helping kids sort this out and how high standards are playing a role. As Noguchi illustrates, “lessons on fake news fit right into the state’s Common Core State Standards, which encourage primary-source research, discussion and critical thinking — answering the ‘why’ questions over the ‘what.’” Anyone can be influenced these days by fake news and social media botnets, but for middle schoolers and teens there’s even greater temptation to read “those you’ll-never-believe-this posts.” And with more and more preferring to get their news online, there’s greater need to show them how to filter it. As Heather Yurkovich, an English teacher at O’Hara Park Middle School told her students, “We want you to be able to know whether or not somebody’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes.”  This is one news story that’s certainly not fake, just more proof how high standards are fostering critical thinking and creativity in our schools.

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