We realized the importance of teaching critical thinking and fact checking one day on Facebook. One ninja-mother-in-law posted an article about an actor that had died-but the actor had died FIVE years earlier. Yet, there she was just a reposting like crazy. A dog with a piece of ham on its face was her next post and that when we started writing our digital citizenship product.
We knew digital citizenship and safety were problems in our classrooms. Students were reposting things without fact-checking. They were quoting incorrect information in their research. In this era of “fake news” we knew we had to start teaching students to think better critically and use the internet for more good than bad. It’s going to take a shift in thinking from everyone, but if we start now there is hope (and not this ‘ham on a dog’s face can you give me an amen’ kind of hope).
We have been teaching our students about digital safety since we started putting them out on the internet, but we have refined the skills to include everything from viral videos to fake news and everything in between. Often we teach about bullying, but now we’ve included lessons about passwords, privacy, scams and phishing as well. The lessons were not only tested by fourth and fifth graders, but the ninja-mother-in-law was forced to complete them all before returning to Facebook. There is a great improvement and now she is much more careful about what she is sharing. She even reported a fake news story she saw online.
You can find our complete lessons in our store.
What digital skills are students still missing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.