DV - Hi and welcome to a special blog edition of ‘That’s CRAP Detection’. I’m very grateful to be joined by Archbishop M.C. O’Neill Catholic High School’s Resource Teacher, Lisa Hautcoeur. Thanks for agreeing to sit down and explore my main question as part of my CRAP detection. So my first question is was a time you have run into a problem with fake news as an educator or in your personal life? How did you use this as a teachable moment?
LH -While working with a Social Studies class on a research project, the teacher explained to the students how his name once appeared in a Wikipedia Search associating him with a role in WWII (can’t remember the exact story). We used this as a teachable moment, stating to the students that you can’t believe everything you see or read on the internet. When working with the EAL classes, we showed them CBC / “This is That” and “The Onion” / Fake News . To show the students examples of Fake news and to make them laugh
DV – Goes to show you that Wikipedia is a pretty good resource but still need to verify the contents on there for sure. I also like the fact that you use humour to teach about fake news, but sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Okay time for question two, what are your favorite FACT checking tools or strategies?
LH - As the Teacher-Librarian at a High School, teachers will book in a time for their classes to come in and learn where to find credible resources for their research topics. The first thing I always do is teach them how to use the databases (online resources). If the information they require is not available through the online resources, then we learn about finding credible resources. Our school division uses Noodle Tools to cite their sources. Students learn very quickly how much more work it is for them once they have to start filling in all the information required for citing a website. I tell them that if they can’t find most of the information need to cite the source, which is already a flag and probably not a credible resource. We use the CRAP test rubric to check the websites for currency, reliability, authority of author, authority of organization and purpose. When working with classes that just want to learn about how to find credible resources, I have a Website Evaluation PowerPoint that we go through together followed by a short quiz. We then look at a few websites and evaluate them as a group. I guess what I am saying is that the biggest tool I try to teach them to use is their brain. It is easy to plug info into the computer to check for them, but it is better for them to learn how to detect non-credible information themselves and to be critical thinkers. Students are also encouraged to “Triangulate” - to check other websites or print resources to see if the information remains consistent.
DV – Use your brain … that’s pretty good advice. I definitely think that’s one of main skills that we need to help students develop is their ability to think critically. With this in mind however, how do we maintain a balance between critical thinking and cynicism?
LH - The reality is that our students today spend most of their time on social media, where images are filtered, stories are altered and messages are skewed. Students need to think critically and learn to develop the skills they need to know when to believe what they find online and when to realize that the information is not real.
DV – That’s one area where I think schools need to develop more strategies and understanding. We are getting better at sources like webpages, but social media is a different beast for sure. Thanks so much Lisa for sharing your insights on this topic and I know you do great work on growing your own understanding and helping out the students of our school on their journey. Thanks for reading a special blog edition of ‘That’s CRAP Detection.’
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.