History Nerdfest 2017 Day One: Fake news? Bad. Engaged, informed, knowledgeable citizens? Good.
In my world there are four major holidays:
- Independence Day
- The first four days of NCAA March Madness
- NCSS conference
Can you guess what today is?
Yup. One of the best days of the year. I’m sitting in downtown San Francisco on the first of three great days of learning and sharing at the National Social Studies Supervisors / National Council for the Social Studies conference. Lots of stuff going on over the next few days: sessions, House of Delegates, board meetings, and location-based learning.
The first session I get to attend is actually mine. We’re chatting today about training kids to use historical thinking skills to help them be stronger, more effective consumers of information. To be better online citizens. To view digital materials and social media as primary sources.
And we started with a great quote from Sam Wineburg:
The tools we’ve invented are handling us, not the other way around.
In his recent piece of research Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Reasoning, Wineburg found that many students are unable to make sense of online sources.
So how should we respond? By training students to ask better questions, use their historical thinking skills, and practice better media literacy skills. I shared a simple but powerful six step process – based on the work of Wineburg and Mike Caulfield – that can help teachers prep their kids to have strong online civic literacy skills:
We want kids to be good at:
- identifying their own confirmation & implicit bias
- knowing the difference between fake and biased news
- differentiating between different news sources
- using fact checking sites
- using effective search engine strategies
- internalizing the Stanford History Education Group’s thinking chart questions
- hunting down original images
- reading the web “laterally” by looking for author, links, and quotes
- taking action
And it seems like a lot of stuff. But these are the kind of skills that engaged and informed citizens need to make sense of what they see, hear, and read.
A couple of handy resources:
- Get a copy of handouts and my presentation at this Google Drive folder.
- The SHEG folks just updated their website as part of their #NCSS17 presentations to include a Civic Online Reasoning section. Be sure to check that out!
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