Do you scroll through Facebook several times a day, clicking on stories that look interesting? Do you go to your favorite news app to see what’s happening in the world?
You’re not alone. Many of us look at some sort of news item each day. Whether that be watching our local news channel each night or browsing social media on our devices, people are constantly bombarded with information. How can we tell whether its true or fake news?
This is the mission of MediaWise. Their interactive presentation informs students on how to fact-check online information. MediaWise is part of the Google News Initiative funded by Google.org and has already reached 5 million teenagers to date with this information.
Alex Mahadevan, of MediaWise, says that everything in our lives is influenced by what we see online. He spoke to the students of the importance of filtering out misinformation and disinformation. The quality of the information presented to students can shape the decisions they make in life. It may influence their decision on where to go to college or even who to vote for in the 2020 election if they are old enough to vote. MediaWise provides a free curriculum entitled Civic Online Reasoning, written by grant partner, Stanford History Education Group. It’s available to schools across the county and parents can download the information beginning in January of 2020. It can be found on Stanford’s website https://sheg.stanford.edu/civic-online-reasoning. Other information and tools can be found on their website as well.
Alex gave 3 main criteria points to KPS students to help them determine if the information and social media posts they see are fake news or real. He said to check 1) who’s behind the information, 2) what’s the evidence and 3) what do other sources say? Anyone can follow these three basic steps to help decide if information presented is accurate or not.
What’s the takeaway from MediaWise? All of us, regardless if we are students or the general population, are thrown so much information each day. We need to take the initiative to stop spreading fake news by watching what we share with others. It’s relevant to anyone who goes online or reads the newspaper or watches the nightly news. We need to fact check and be cautious of what we share on our social media platforms.
MediaWise aims to help students make sound judgement and develop reasoning to evaluate and analyze online evidence. They will be presenting to Horizon and Sunrise Middle Schools later this week.
More information on this initiative can be found on their website, https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/.