Monthly Archives: February 2017


5 ways to teach kids about “Fake News”

By | 2018-01-12T14:09:31+00:00 February 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|

*The original post was uploaded on Craig Kemp‘s website on February 22, 2017. In collaboration with Craig, we wrote this post to address how we can help students learn how to consume and produce media.

5-ways-to-teach-kids-about-fake-newsWe live in a fast-paced, constantly changing world with many struggles and frustrations that are often out of our immediate control. The recent viral trend of “Fake News” has taken the internet by storm and our role as educators is to support our students to understand who is behind the information that they are consuming.

In order to support our students, we first must ensure that our teachers are fully upskilled on the matter and understand it themselves. Our responsibility is to prepare our students for the world they live in NOW. Blocking and banning is not the solution. Here are five ways to teach kids how to navigate “Fake News” as consumers and producers:

Fact Vs. Fiction

As an example, let us look at this website on The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. The site has information about the tree octopus and even includes resources, citations, sightings and images. The question we need to ask our students is “is it even possible for an octopus to live in a tree?”.

When we are researching online, we must run through a checklist to determine if the site is fact or fiction. Consider these questions next time you get stumped:

  1. Explore the content. Is it even possible or likely? Is the content hard to believe? Ask yourself if the headline matches the content? Is the content one-sided or are all sides of the story represented?
  2. Check the reliability. If you are questioning the credibility of the content, explore the “About Us” section and also check the references. Are the links working on the site? Check the URL and look for any hints or misspelled words.
  3. Fact check. This is your opportunity to check if this news is reported anywhere else. What other sites or news stations are reporting on the same story? Start to collect a bibliography of sources that help you determine the authenticity of the story.
  4. Learn how to cite resources. Become familiar with Creative Commons and learn about sites like Photos for Class, Flickr and Pixabay.
  5. How to prevent spreading fake news. Luckily, there are resources like Snopes and FactCheck.Org which can also help you check the reliability of the source before you pass it on.

Digital citizenship and media literacy skills have never been more necessary both in and out of the classroom. The bottom line is that we can all get caught in believing and spreading “Fake News” unless we practice how to critically examine, consume and produce content, as well as learn how to evaluate the credibility of the source and how to credit the source. Practicing these skills on a daily basis will ensure that students learn to ask the right questions in order to determine if the material is fact or fiction.

Schools must prepare students for the real world instead of continuously protecting them from it in the little bubbles we have in our communities.

*Here’s the start of some additional “Fake News” resources.

#SID2017 with Falkirk Schools in Scotland

By | 2017-02-25T03:09:10+00:00 February 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|

We spent Safer Internet Day 2017 with Falkirk Schools in Scotland. Six Falkirk Schools (4 primary and 2 secondary schools) volunteered to teach one aspect of digital citizenship as part of the global online safety activities happening around the world. It was a wonderful example of amplifying the positive as the students shared lessons on safety, social responsibility and technology and social media for social good.

A Summary of the Our Learning

Conversation on Twitter

Thank you to all the Falkirk students and classrooms who were our teachers for #SID2017.

Digital Citizenship & #SID2017

By | 2018-01-12T14:09:31+00:00 February 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|

making-the-worlda-better-place-4Be A Role Model
Be the same person on and offline. What you do when you think people are watching you is all about your reputation, but what you do when you think no one is watching you those decisions speak directly towards your character. If you focus on your character, you’ll be a role model and example for all. Let’s show our students positive examples like Timmy Sullivan and take him up on his dare and Google him. As Captain America says, “The Power is Yours!” and the choices we make can influence others. Think of it this way, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Be the solution.

Celebrate Others
John F. Kennedy shared during a speech in 1963, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” When we build up others, we create a positive environment and trust me, positivity breeds positivity. Plus, being positive is so much easier than being negative and it costs absolutely nothing to be kind. Every single person is a gift to the world. Period. Each of us has our own special gifts and talents. Take the time to notice and celebrate others.

The best kind of digital citizen is one who celebrates other people. Compliments are powerful. Share them everywhere! Use these 20 #ICANHELP activities as a way to help schools grow positive school culture and become a DigCitKids classroom ambassador to help bring activities and challenges into the classroom.

Amplify Student Voice
Let students be the teachers. Do this every single day. Learning is a two-way street. Let’s learn alongside our students and amplify the positive. Engage our students and invite them to teach us. Learn from our friend, Olivia Van Ledtje (a.k.a. Liv Bits) who likes to say, #kidsCANteachus!

Recently, we guest moderated the #MinecraftEdu chat on Twitter about the importance of student voice and digital citizenship. The students took the lead during the chat and modeled the power of students as teachers. We want to make sure that students everywhere have opportunities to share their voice both in and out of the classroom.

Practice Empathy
Practicing empathy provides students an opportunity to experience how others feel. Just last week in Birmingham, England, Kiran Satii’s primary students explored how understanding empathy is about making real connections which further reminds us what makes us all human. When we practice empathy, we begin to learn to humanize the person next to us. Classrooms practicing empathy are better able to humanize the person next to them, in local communities, around the world, as well as across the screen.

Be That KIND of Kid
Students like Lila Mankad represent students who take learning beyond the classroom walls and making an impact in her own community. This fourth grader created a petition to make Houston plastic-bag free. Lila is the type of student who is focused on creating solutions in their own communities, “I want to be the kind of person who changes the world instead of complaining. I want to be the kind of person that solves problems instead of creating them.” Be part of the solution and sign and share the work of a student to give them a powerful voice.

We want to support more students to be that KIND of kid because all it takes is ONE student to be the change. Today we spent Safer Internet Day on Skype with six Falkirk Schools in Scotland where the students taught each other about the nine elements of digital citizenship. The students from Scotland modeled these 5 recommendations and we know that they will help classrooms make the digital world safer every day.