Fake News Alerts: Teaching News Literacy Skills in a Meme World

Taylor, Diana

ID – Media Literacy

Ireland, S. (2018). Fake news alerts: Teaching news literacy skills in a meme world. The Reference Librarian, 59(3), 122-128.

Summary: In this article, Ireland addresses the need for students to have the skills to be able to decipher whether information is true or not. In today’s fast paced world of technology, most information is sent in less than 100 words, and readers view it as true. Ireland suggests that librarians can make their own memes and infographics to provide visual information to combat it. This article covers memes, what is fake news, identifying fake news, identifying reliable news sources, accessing sources, addressing bias and logical fallacies, and how to stop being part of the problem.

Evaluation: This was an excellent article on how librarians can help address the issue of fake news with students. Ireland provides us with all the necessarily terminology to discuss fake news and provides resources to post in the library for students to view.

What Hath We Wrought?

John Beilock


dana boyd

SXSW EDU. (2018). boyd, d. What Hath We Wrought? SXSW EDU 2018. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I7FVyQCjNg

danah boyd’s SXSW EDU keynote, What Hath We Wrought?, takes a powerful look at media literacy, the widespread consumption of fake news and the cultural implications of media manipulation.

A challenge to educators to look at how they are teaching media literacy.

Allen, M. (2008). Promoting Critical Thinking Skills in Online Information Literacy Instruction Using a Constructivist Approach. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 15(1/2), 21-38. doi:10.1080/10691310802176780. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=34179935&site=ehost-live&scope=site
This article discusses how the constructivist approach is becoming an increasingly popular way of teaching literacy skills in the library.  In this approach, the teacher works as the facilitator or the guide to learning. This is a trend that increasing in the library. Librarians are learning ways in which they can achieve these goals within their libraries. They are learning ways to make learning in ways that are more online and asynchronous instead of the typical one-shot lecture method.  This way is being embraced more and more and seems to be something that we need to embrace. 

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.