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In the age of fake news, here’s how schools are teaching kids to think like fact-checkers

By Quartz

Fact-checkers practice “lateral reading”—meaning that they verify information by parsing a variety of resourcesRead full story


  • I love this. This is the foundation of my entire 8th grade English curriculum. No matter what specific state standard or larger theme we’re working on, the bottom line is learning how to find and interpret accurate, unbiased info - or, more accurately, be able to spot the inaccuracies and biases across sources (and yourself as a reader) in order to come to a more informed (yet ever-evolving!) conclusion. This is CRITICAL!

    As an interesting side note, I recall being encouraged as an eighth grade student writing persuasive essays to just make up facts or statistics, because it was just the writing you were practicing. I don’t think the teacher could have ever predicted how bad of an idea that probably was...

  • I think people are learning to be more suspicious of what they read, but are not yet suspicious enough of what they read when they're predisposed to agree with it.

  • One of the most interesting things I learned when I reported this story was that many news literacy experts are annoyed by the focus on “critical thinking” as a catch-all term for what we need kids to learn in their classes.

    Sam Wineburg, of Stanford’s History Education Group, told me: “The people who say ‘all we need are critical thinkers,’ I’m sorry, I could […] raise Socrates from the dead and he still wouldn’t know how to choose keywords, and he would know nothing about search engine optimization, and he would not know how to interpret the difference between a ‘.org’ and a ‘.com.’”

  • Former HS English and journalism teacher here to say: Media literacy should absolutely be required in schools. It's an essential life skill and way of thinking akin to learning to analyze prose.

  • I don’t know if I’m really happy about this or deeply saddened that this is where we are with information and the human race. “interrogate information instead of simply consuming it,” “verify information before sharing it,” “reject rank and popularity as a proxy for reliability,” “understand that the sender of information is often not its source,” and “acknowledge the implicit prejudices we all carry.”

  • It's about time - this is a step in the right direction.

  • So 2019! Clearly needed... to help our youth consumer news in this new age.

  • Skills of lateral learning:

    Interrogate information instead of simply consuming it.

    Verify information before sharing it.

    Reject rank and popularity as a proxy for reliability.

    Understand that the sender of information is often not its source.

    Acknowledge the implicit prejudices we all carry.

  • Scary stuff, and further proof of a much older Stanford study that affinity breeds affection.

  • Historically teachers have made some of the worst fact checkers. Who doesn’t remember being taught that Pluto was a planet.

  • Is very important to have such type of education with this world of technology both kids and adults should learn to verify information, social media can be harmful to the society and our overall health.

  • I would also add that the training need to be extended to the teachers too. They're sometimes part of the problem, forcing questionable information and forcing a one track thinking path.

  • Taking TMI to a new level. As those who grew up with social media move further into adulthood there is too much information to be able to properly assess and in turn the overwhelm can and does impair the ability to judge real from fake.. sometimes at levels that seem obvious “most students lacked the basic ability to recognize credible information or partisan junk online, or to tell sponsored content apart from real articles”

  • Here's hoping that, even if we never get it, the next generation becomes savvy about fact checking.

  • Mark Twain once said: “Don't let your BOYS schooling interfere with HIS education.” 

  • How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler should be required reading for teachers as well as students. Due to the heavy emphasis on indoctrination in schools as opposed to critical thinking skills we have created an intellectually lazy population lacking in intellectual integrity. Watch some of the YouTube video man inthe street interviews if that dieant give you a jolt nothing will. Government schools have been teaching what to think rather than how to think far too long.

  • The IQ tests schools used to give (50 plus years ago) included reading paragraphs and then answering questions concerning what the paragraphs actually said. That is akin to critical thinking and helps develop it. Learning to be that aware of what is written/said is a key element of real education, and oh, how badly such education is needed!

  • They used to call it a liberal arts degree. It was a bases in multi disciplines and it gave a person the base line to figure out fake news. The story is high in irony as it is post modernism that has infected our schools and given way to nihilism and no absolute truths. When ones ownself is the bases for truth and experience. When everything is filtered through me and what I feel then fake news and delusion are the natural next step. Truth must be bigger than oneself and that is nowhere on the horizon for Western Civilization in the near future. Be prepared for more, food hippies, anti science, anti religion and anti vax types. The age of stupification always holds hands with the age of pleasure seeking and self focus in the extreme.

  • News literacy is a important at any age, but teaching kids helps ensure its transferability beyond the internet. From hallway rumors to schoolyard and online bullying, fact-checking can build stronger kids

  • Children and adult have to study about fake news.

    There are alot of information in internet.

    Everyone have to distinguish it.

  • Social media acumen does not translate into understanding the difference between real and fake news in youth, educators find. As the volume of information and bias flourish, a course in critical thinking for our kids will become as necessary as learning how to swim or drive—a life skill.

  • Only to add my fuel to the fire. Does anyone consider it to be neanderthal to involve THE GOD FACTOR into your every day inquisition of everything.

    Especially information via internet. Another analogy would say. If the glove doesn't fit, then you must acquit. [If the information doesn't8 feel comfortable "spiritually " despite further research. Should it be fully applied to your rational conception? #randomembarkment#

  • Trust is the new currency. In the near future information emitters will have to stake cash and be ready to get challenged for anyone to believe them.

  • On a slight side track with the huge financial strain news companies are facing especially printed ones and the abbundance of (buyers of pens) even once credible establishments are now days has an element of fake news. Even propoganda is skewed now days towards the untruth and agendas of the buyers of pens

  • 👏👏👏👏

  • Don't be so quickto share information until you are sure of its credibility and source. I see that (have been guilty of it myself), far to often.

  • I wish I'd used it while taught Developmental English in community college. SIGH

    I've a stroke now and I can't go back to teaching.

  • Need adults to do the same. So much junk is being constantly posted as truth....

  • I love this. I feel lucky to have learned this in my Advanced Placement classes in high school and to continue this growth in my Honors College that focuses on critical thinking. I've had to take classes on how to analyze and dissect arguments in college and I'm really grateful for them. This is so important!

  • Simply put...our schools are subpar at best to many other schools in the world last I remember we rank about 17th in education, 24th In literacy and about 11th in 4th grade education. Fact checkers Ready...set?.... Go!!!! My point is it’s great your teaching critical thinking but how about using some of that critical thinking as educators to improve our world standards?

  • This used to be called "critical thinking". If it needs to be reinvented/renamed to satisfy newer generations, so be it. It is definitely something that has been lost along the way and will need to be the pulse of our nation if we are not going to be led astray by the most convincing of "con men and women".......and, no, Donald Trump is not a con man, in my opinion. However, many of his liberal enemies that tout the benefits of socialism and total government control are.

  • Fake news is now one of the greatest threats to free society especially when it is coupled with hyper personalisation. As humans we simply don't have the time and processing abilities to always verify sources and double check information. Is there an opportunity for an AI advisory bot who could play a role in helping to score the possibility of information being fake and alerting us?? File that one away under new startup ideas...

  • Joseph

  • This is awesome! When Trump and his Fake News insurgents are gone actual thinking people will take their place !🤗 Then We can make America America Again !!

  • Fact checkers are biased

  • As a current student, I've seen credibility reduced to visual elements of a website. While this is hopefully an isolated incident, it calls into question the old ways. I'd like to see more of the approach described as "interrogating" information, but could intervention by the government or Internet community help as well? I realize that opens a whole other can of worms but believe the benefits could outweigh the potential costs.

  • Interesting..

  • Sure, schools can teach children how to think critically and with reason, but does that go out the door once that child goes home to politically partisan/tribal parents?

  • Our minds are simply not designed to categorize the reliability if the source of information we have encountered. You can train kids as much as you like but you cannot overcome that limitation.

    What we should be teaching our children is how to control what sources of information they expose themselves to based on the legitimacy of the reporting.

    Even the best most reliable journalistic sources embed countless advertising blurbs within every article and they are presented as legitimate content. It is big business to mislead and staying ahead of it is a losing game.

    Until consumers learn to pay for reliable news sources not filled with advertising and control what they let themselves be exposed to this will remain a problem.

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