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CTRL-F: Find the Facts is an online verification skills module designed to help students evaluate digital information and determine what to trust.




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1. Introduction: Why Verify?

As news and information move online, the ability to evaluate the information that comes through digital channels has become an essential skill of citizenship. This lesson overviews the problem of information pollution and the contributing factors to low-quality, false, and misleading information online. Students will be introduced to the concept of “lateral reading” and how these digital literacy strategies differ from more common techniques.

Guiding Questions

 

  • Why is it challenging to identify trustworthy or reliable information online?
  • What causes false and misleading information to spread?

Estimated Time

 

The activities in this section will take an estimated 1 hour to complete

Overview

 

As news and information move online, the ability to evaluate the information that comes through digital channels has become an essential skill of citizenship.

As an entry point to the module, students will reflect on where they get their news and the criteria they use to determine if it is trustworthy. Using multimedia tools, students will learn about information pollution and the contributing factors to low-quality, false, and misleading information. Students will be introduced to the idea of “lateral reading” skills and how they differ from other source evaluation techniques they may have used before. 

Learning Outcomes

 

By the end of these activities, students will be able to:

  • explain the problem of information pollution and describe the difference between misinformation and disinformation;
  • analyze how false and misleading information spreads online;
  • explain the concept of lateral reading and how it differs from other source evaluation skills.

Key Terms

 

conspiracy theories, disinformation, hoaxes, information pollution, lateral reading, misinformation 

DOWNLOADS AND LINKS

Starter (15-20 mins)

 

To introduce students to the key themes and guiding questions, ask students to fill out Activity 1.1. Use a Think-Pair-Share approach to allow for discussion among students.

  • If you heard from a friend that there was a meteor crash in your city/town, how would you confirm this story?
  • What are your main sources of news and information and why?
  • How often do you share news with your friends through social media or messaging apps? Do you ever check to see if it is true before sharing it?
  • When you come across an unfamiliar website, how do you know if you should trust it?
  • Have you seen information online that you know to be false or misleading? How could you tell?
  • Are you confident in your ability to assess the quality of information you see online?

 

 

Fundamentals (30-35 min)

Show students the following two posts and ask them if they think either is real (Slide Deck 1). Ask them to provide a reason or evidence to back up their answer. Afterwards, reveal the details of each post.

  1. Introduce the concepts of information pollution, misinformation and disinformation, using the video “CIVIX Explains: Information Pollution” and Slide Deck 1. Ask students to respond to the first three questions in Activity 1.2.
  • Why do we have information pollution?
  • Why is it hard to identify trustworthy or reliable information online?
  • What is the difference between misinformation and disinformation? Provide a specific example for each (not mentioned in the video).
  1. Explain to students that they will be learning some new strategies for verifying information online. These “lateral reading” strategies differ from what they may have been taught before, such as the CRAAP test. Review the difference between vertical reading and lateral reading (Slide Deck 1).
    • Vertical reading: “staying on the page,” examining the content critically and asking yourself what you think.
    • Lateral reading: “leaving the page,” examining other sources and analyzing what others have to say.

Teacher Note:  It is worth noting that the CRAAP test was not designed for the online world and it can actually lead us to wrong assumptions when evaluating the information that see find online.

  1. Watch the “Introduction to CTRL-F with Jane Lytvynenko and Mike Caulfield” and ask students to respond to the last two questions on Activity 1.2.
  • What causes misinformation and disinformation to spread?
  • Can you think of a time when you shared news with a friend or family member that turned out to be false?
  • What is the main approach mentioned to help us verify information?

 

Consolidation (5-10 min.)

 

Ask students to fill out the Exit Slip (Activity 1.3).

  • Describe three things you learned today…
  • List two things you want to learn more about…
  • Ask one question you have or wonder related to the topic…

 

Extension: Create Your Own Verification Guide

 

The Verification Handbook Assignment has been designed to help students consolidate their learning from the CTRL-F module and to keep as a guide for future reference. It can be completed on an ongoing basis as students proceed through the activities or as a culminating activity to review what has been learned. Within the Handbook, students will describe the skills and techniques in their own words, and then demonstrate their ability to use the skills with their own examples. Please refer to the outline provided.

 

Modifications for Remote and Blended Learning

 

Asynchronous/Independent Learning (30-35 min)

  • Assign the Starter Activity (1.1) as an independent activity (Word, Google docs or Google forms formats available).
  • Ask students to review Slide Deck 1 and watch the embedded videos to review the key concepts (information pollution, misinformation, disinformation, hoaxes, lateral reading)
  • Afterwards, have students respond to the questions Activity 1.2 (in Word or Google doc)

 

Synchronous Learning (25-30 min)

  • Have students discuss their responses to Activity 1.1 as a class or in pairs
  • Watch the Intro video with Jane and Mike
  • Review responses to Activity 1.2 and check for understanding of the key concepts
  • Assign the Exit Slip (Activity 1.3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fundamentals (30-35 min)

Show students the following two posts and ask them if they think either is real (Slide Deck 1). Ask them to provide a reason or evidence to back up their answer. Afterwards, reveal the details of each post.

  1. Introduce the concepts of information pollution, misinformation and disinformation, using the video “CIVIX Explains: Information Pollution” and Slide Deck 1. Ask students to respond to the first three questions in Activity 1.2.
  • Why do we have information pollution?
  • Why is it hard to identify trustworthy or reliable information online?
  • What is the difference between misinformation and disinformation? Provide a specific example for each (not mentioned in the video).
  1. Explain to students that they will be learning some new strategies for verifying information online. These “lateral reading” strategies differ from what they may have been taught before, such as the CRAAP test. Review the difference between vertical reading and lateral reading (Slide Deck 1).
    • Vertical reading: “staying on the page,” examining the content critically and asking yourself what you think.
    • Lateral reading: “leaving the page,” examining other sources and analyzing what others have to say.

Teacher Note:  It is worth noting that the CRAAP test was not designed for the online world and it can actually lead us to wrong assumptions when evaluating the information that see find online.

  1. Watch the “Introduction to CTRL-F with Jane Lytvynenko and Mike Caulfield” and ask students to respond to the last two questions on Activity 1.2.
  • What causes misinformation and disinformation to spread?
  • Can you think of a time when you shared news with a friend or family member that turned out to be false?
  • What is the main approach mentioned to help us verify information?

 

Consolidation (5-10 min.)

 

Ask students to fill out the Exit Slip (Activity 1.3).

  • Describe three things you learned today…
  • List two things you want to learn more about…
  • Ask one question you have or wonder related to the topic…

 

Extension: Create Your Own Verification Guide

 

The Verification Handbook Assignment has been designed to help students consolidate their learning from the CTRL-F module and to keep as a guide for future reference. It can be completed on an ongoing basis as students proceed through the activities or as a culminating activity to review what has been learned. Within the Handbook, students will describe the skills and techniques in their own words, and then demonstrate their ability to use the skills with their own examples. Please refer to the outline provided.

Culminating Activity: Create Your Own Verification Handbook

 

The Verification Handbook Assignment has been designed to help students consolidate their learning from the CTRL-F module and to keep as a guide for future reference. It can be completed on an ongoing basis as students proceed through the activities or as a culminating activity to review what has been learned. Within the Handbook, students will describe the skills and techniques in their own words, and then demonstrate their ability to use the skills with their own examples. Please refer to the outline provided.

 

 

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