As history educators we are constantly teaching how to read critically – whether by example or in our assignments. So, the recent hullabaloo about “fake” news probably makes you want to just shake your head in disbelief that this is happening with such alacrity. This is the time for us as educators – whether in our classrooms or in general for our local communities – to take a leadership role. The public in general needs to be reminded that all information sources need to be analyzed for frame of reference and documented evidence. They need resources to make this kind of analysis happen, and we are the best at doing this kind of work.
Recently the News Literacy Project put out a questionnaire that you could share with others to use: “Ten Questions for Fake News Detection.” It’s a good place to start with those who are not yet proficient at close reading – or reading like a historian.
The Stanford History Education Group has done a lot of work in this area. Recently, they published a report summarizing what they found in their research: “Evaluating Information: The cornerstone of civic online reasoning, Executive summary.” (November 22, 2016). The summary provides examples of assessments for middle school, high school, and college students. You might consider taking this on as a challenge for yourself and find if your own community-based research (or research projects by your students) garner the same results.
Please reply to this post and let us know what you are doing in this area.