From June 2018 to May 2019, we administered an assessment to 3,446 students, a national sample that matches the demographic profile of high school students in the United States. The six exercises in our assessment gauged students’ ability to evaluate digital sources on the open internet. The results—if they can be summarized in a word—are troubling: •Fifty-two percent of students believed a grainy video claiming to show ballot stuffing in the 2016 Democratic primaries (the video was actually shot in Russia) constituted “strong evidence” of voter fraud in the U.S. Among more than 3,000 responses, only three students tracked down the source of the video, even though a quick search turns up a variety of articles exposing the ruse. Two-thirds of students couldn’t tell the difference between news stories and ads (set off by the words “Sponsored Content”) on Slate’s homepage.Ninety-six percent of students did not consider why ties between a climate change website and the fossil fuel industry might lessen that website’s credibility. Instead of investigating who was behind the site, students focused on superficial markers of credibility: the site’s aesthetics, its top-level domain, or how it portrayed itself on the About page.
In which John Green previews the new Crash Course on Navigating Digital Information! We've partnered with MediaWise, The Poynter Institute, and The Stanford History Education Group to teach a course in hands-on skills to evaluate the information you read online. The internet is full of information, a lot of it notably wrong. We're here to arm you with the skills to separate the good stuff from the inaccurate stuff and browse the internet with confidence.
Special thanks to our partners from MediaWise who helped create this series:
The Poynter Institute
The Stanford History Education Group (sheg.stanford.edu)
Students examine what deepfakes are and consider the deeper civic and ethical implications of deepfake technology. In an age of easy image manipulation, this lesson fosters critical thinking skills that empower students to question how we can mitigate the impact of doctored media content. This lesson plan includes a slide deck and brainstorm sheet for classroom use.
This lesson is an adaptation of a history lesson designed by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The focus of the lesson is on comparing and contrasting primary sources describing the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 in order to teach students methods for evaluating historical sources. The historical content has been paired with English proficiency standards to help support students comprehension of challenging historical documents. It is designed for high school, but with some adaptation could be used in an 8th grade classroom. The lessons are designed to support Intermediate to Advanced (ELP 3-5) language learners, although students with Beginning proficiency (ELP 1-2) would find some success with this as well. Students compare two newspaper reports on the fire and two memoirs of the fire written many decades later, with an eye on how these accounts complement and compete with one another, and how these sources can be used to draw historical meaning from them.
Teacher's Guides and Analysis Tool
Primary Source Analysis Tool for Students
Students can use this simple tool to examine and analyze any kind of primary source and record their responses.
Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects that were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts that retell, analyze, or interpret events, usually at a distance of time or place.
Bringing young people into close contact with these unique, often profoundly personal documents and objects can give them a sense of what it was like to be alive during a long-past era. Helping students analyze primary sources can also prompt curiosity and improve critical thinking and analysis skills.
This lesson will challenge learners to critically read and evaluate news articles presenting different positions on a single issue that the learner takes interest in. The learner will then be challenged to formulate their own opinion by refining their own argument on the issue. The target audience of learners for this lesson constitute the Career and College Readiness Standards Grade Level E (9-12) in their reading and writing abilities. Learners will hone practical skills by engaging in this lesson, such as how to critically engage with news and media, being able to succinctly summarize larger pieces of information, and using information to write a structured argument based on their own opinions. These skills will have practical applications for everyday life, reading and writing the GED, and when applying for jobs that require information processing.
News Literacy Project is a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, that provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.
The California History and Social Science Project hosted a webinar on March 2nd and shared a list of resources for teaching and understanding the war in Ukraine.