CARS may not be enough anymore

1.   GARDNER, L. (2017). Information Literacy, a Revised Plan. School Library Journal, 63(1), 20.

IIn this article, Laura Gardner discusses the ways in which she has traditionally taught her students about website reliability, and how she is altering her plans this year due to the proliferation of “fake news.”  She has noted an inability in her middle-school aged students to discern the difference between fact and opinion especially when reading information online, and she is thus spending more time helping them learn to cross-check and verify information before accepting its authenticity.  She is also instructing them about the pitfalls of posting to social media before verifying the truth of news stories, since that is a common way in which fake news is shared and spread.  

This is a very helpful article for anyone who works with adolescents or tweens, and Gardner’s recommendations are useful.  I have used the CARS method myself, and I agree that kids probably need help to know whether information meets some of the standards.  For example, they need to check not just whether that information seems reasonable – because some very dubious things can seem reasonable to middle schoolers!  They need to verify it in other independent sources.  I also appreciate Gardner’s focus on social media awareness, because that is where students get most of their news, and they need to be aware that it may not be accurate.  Students can be taught ways to verify news they read on social media and to avoid reposting erroneous information.


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