Making Sense of the Digital World…Good Luck

Upon writing this post I’m reminded of the email chains of “send this to X number of your closest friends and you’ll be granted 17 wishes…but only if it’s done on a Wednesday” – ridiculous things. Didn’t take much to be critical of those, but if I think about what is shared around today in the world of news, it only makes me more thankful for the ability to be digitally critalet (not a word, I know, but combines critical and literate because I’m blanking on the real term).

On an average day most of my information comes from sources on social media apps. What does this allow me to do? Well, I know that I need to cross-reference. I try to follow numerous newspapers on things such as Twitter and Facebook because I know that these are the apps that I am using for information. If I find something in a Facebook feed or on Twitter, I will usually check in on another source to see either one of two things: 1) is this exact same story published on something that I trust or is deemed more reliable? or 2) Who wrote this story and what else have they contributed to?

Throughout this process of double-checking, it provides a couple obstacles for me. First, it takes a little longer because I want to be darn sure that what I’m reading is true, but it’s worth it overall. And second, it has also confronted me with the fact that things I read do indeed qualify as “Fake News”.

Narrator: Gasp! My dear readers! At first she thought, “
No, surely not me! I wouldn’t fall for it!” but oh ladies and gentlemen, even teachers make mistakes… (Any Jane the Virgin fans out there?) Alas…

I had always thought, “oh fake news, of course you’re going to know it’s fake – that stuff didn’t actually happen”. But my oh my, are there ever great writers in the world. It is much harder now to determine fake news, altered truths (if that can even be classified as a thing), and facts that are taken out of context.

I give my students a lot of credit because they are swarmed so much with media of all formats and their ability to process what they’re reading is admirable. That being said, I think that there can be many strategies implemented in the classroom that allow them to view things more critically and generate different discussions regarding the news – this is something that I am really looking forward to implementing into my classroom and I am excited for the conversations.

As much as a I want to say I’m a “read the newspaper” kind of person (nostalgia setting in for anyone else?), I also like to be well informed and kept up-to-date and so waiting for the next printed issue just doesn’t cut it. So, while some people may not trust the news given online, I think it’s all the more imperative that we embrace the ways in which we can read critically, deconstruct media, and better prepare ourselves for the conversations regarding our world and the many ways in which it influences our nature.


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