How can I think independently AND balance the imbalanced news?

Arriving at this idea to teach and inspire students to think independently and be informed has not been a short road. I’ll spare most details on this learning journey and share some, too.

Essentially, I’ve landed here through my own experiences. Life is telling me this is too important to pass. My students and family deserve a well informed librarian and father.

For a number of reasons, I removed myself  from most media outlets for the last few month. I needed a break.

Now, though, refreshed, I return ready to learn and share.

From Pixabay

From Pixabay

I’m a librarian – I can’t ignore the looming fact that librarians, as my good friend and former teacher recently told me, are still the “custodians of media.” Truth is, I’ve been ignoring the news and new media facet of my profession for far too long. I was afraid to jump back in because I didn’t know where to begin. I still don’t, fully, know where to begin. However, I suppose sharing personal experience with misinformation on social media might be a good place to start.

Embarrassingly, I, a librarian and custodian of media, re-posted – shared – an infographic that was a lie.

Fake News

Fake News

Had it not been for a “friend” who directed me to Snopes to disprove this infographic, it still might be on my Facebook Wall – part of my digital footprint. Not only would it signal to me that this guys is wasting his time with political posts, but it would also say this guy is misinformed and irresponsible. Both, threats to civilizations everywhere.

So, with that experience in mind, hoping students can relate, I create my COETAIL course 1 final project on News Literacy. And, at the core of any literacy is the need to think for oneself.

Independent thought is a practiced skill. It requires the mind to perform specific tasks. Those tasks, I hope, and actions will be the essence of this unit. By the way, this is still a work in progress. Regretfully, I don’t have this where I want it to be, but it’s a start.


Before I go further, though, it should be noted that because misinformation has become an International epidemic, and anyone can report on anything at any time, organizations far brighter than this bulb have developed courses and resources for teachers to teach news  literacy.  UNESCO, after a few looks, seems to have given us, in my humble opinion, a much too wordy, cumbersome, and  HEAVY program to tackle. I’ve only spent an hour or two with it, and I’m impatient – so it could be great! But, I’m skeptical. I like words, and I like to click, and it’s too much wordiness and clicking for me.

I’m not here to battle UNESCO, though. Thank you, UNESCO, for putting this together, and I will give your program a deeper look if time permits. We’re all in this together, and nobody wants to see this happen again:

These organization are doing their part to fight: The News Literacy Project, Stonybrook’s Center For News Literacy, and the American Press Institute’s Youth News Literacy Curriculum. My favorite of all these was the News Literacy Project. It’s easy to use and follow. They sent a personal email helping me take the first steps with their program.

In hindsight, I could use the New Literacy Project as a base and work from it. Students could go through the Checkology virtual classroom and we could share thoughts and ideas on a blog, google classroom, flipgrid (awesome resource I’m using now) or in class exchanges.

Transitioning to a new school and not knowing colleagues well enough to comfortably share ideas, I went against my own core belief to never work in isolation. Poor planning, perhaps, left me with no other alternative  (although maybe I could have reached out to another COETAILER @drosenblatt?@abbisand @sjohnston @jesfisk17 @twhite @caryghart @alexbunting @pandion for help?).

To share ideas smoothly and openly with students in investigating material, I set up a google class. There’s also a group forum, but I’m not sure which platform will work better to share student work and thought. Both? Let me know what you think please.

Facing the news again is important for me. I’m glad I don’t have to go at it alone.

Learning Together

from pixabay









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One Response to How can I think independently AND balance the imbalanced news?

  1. I found this today, and it would have been more helpful while writing this post, but, hey, here it is now:
    Beyond Fake News


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