Digital Literacy

Teaching our students digital literacy skills is crucial to help them become informed citizens. In order to do this, teachers must approach the topic of misinformation with some caution. In today’s world, we are constantly engaging with digital media with varying levels of credibility. Teachers should promote an active discussion in the classroom and build a common ground with students to encourage a respectful and constructive learning space. The News Literacy Project listed several strategies to teach news literacy, including focusing on journalism standards, consulting multiple sources, and approaching news reports as texts to analyze critically. These approaches can be applied in multiple classrooms as exercises on reading analysis. When students practice evaluating a source in their history classroom, they use several of these skills. The main standout of this article was to try and steer the lesson away from triggering an emotional response in students. Partisan news bubbles are more prominent than ever and keeping the lesson unbiased, respectful, and constructive should be the main priority.

Helping students to spot misinformation online can also be part of a digital literacy lesson or activity. Students are constantly online and interacting with sources that may seem credible, but are not. Using the above strategies can help here, but it is important for teachers to recognize online misinformation as well. Students can be taught simple skills to help them, including fact-checking, source analysis, and lateral reading. I think the main issue with confronting online literacy is the separation between students and their teachers. Teachers may be more digitally literate, but students are often interacting in new and different spaces than adults. Students should be encouraged to research the websites they may read from and to practice click restraint. The article from the educator online mentions falling for appearances online. Teachers can approach this by having students research online sources to determine credibility.