Sunday, February 19, 2017

4 Sites to Fight Fake News

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Common Sense Education has released a 1-minute video featuring four websites to separate fact from fiction. When the next viral story, makes it to class, take break to discuss media literacy and help your students determine how these sites can be of value.

1)    Opensecrets.org
This site is all about following the money. It points out the connections among political contributions, lobbying data, and government policy. The site is run by a nonpartisan, independent, nonprofit, called the Center for Responsive Politics which is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. The site was created so that citizens are empowered by access to clear and unbiased information about money’s role in politics and policy, and so they can use that knowledge to strengthen democracy. The site works to produce and disseminate information on money in politics to inform and engage Americans, champion transparency, and expose disproportionate or undue influence on public policy.


Here are some of the topics you will find on the site.


Innovative Educators: Not only is this a terrific site for the study of social studies and literacy, but it could also be a great resource for math / statistics.

This is a journalism site guided by fairness and transparency that includes a weekly newsletter on fact-checking and accountability. It’s mission is to provide excellent journalism and the public awareness necessary for an informed electorate and a strong democracy. The site also provides a platform to teach those who manage, edit, produce, program, report, write, blog, photograph and design, whether they belong to news organizations or work as independent entrepreneurs. They teach those who teach, as well as students in middle school, high school and college—the journalists of tomorrow. They teach members of the public, helping them better understand how journalism is produced and how to tell for themselves whether it’s credible.


The site has an e-learning platform, News U, that allows those in search of training to choose from hundreds of self-directed courses, online group seminars, Webinars, online chats, podcasts and video tutorials which you can check out here. It is one of the world’s most innovative online journalism and media training programs. From multimedia techniques to writing and reporting, NewsU offers more than 400 free and low-cost courses for anyone who wants to improve his or her journalism-based skills.


Sample opportunities are:


Innovative Educators: This is a great resource for any writing or journalism class.

3) Factcheck.org
This site is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. The site monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players to increase public knowledge and understanding. FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The site has impressive articles and objective analysis that will be appreciated by those who want to dig deeper into a politician’s dubious claims.  Here are the types of articles you’ll see.


The site also includes  SciCheck — a fact-checking feature that focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy.  Here are the type of articles you’ll see.


Innovative Educators: A terrific site for social studies and science class.


Snopes is the most well known site for debunking the latests rumors, urban legends, myths, and misinformation. The site’s work has been described as painstaking, scholarly, and reliable. The site uses a clever rating system to gage a story’s truthfulness.  
Check it out:

Innovative educators: This is a terrific site to use for media literacy and social studies, but beware. Some of these stories are pretty racy because urban legends are expressions of adult fears and concerns and, as such, often convey those messages via stories that are unsuitable for children. Use your professional judgement as to how your students use the site.


What do you think? Can you see, or are you, using these sites with your students? What has your experience been? How do you think these sites can result in more effective teaching and learning?