This is a great story. I’d love to see more grownups follow these rules! It’s difficult, I still get caught sometimes. But this helps:
To make sure I wouldn’t have any student in the same situation as Andy ever again, I started asking my students to examine seven different elements of a news article. If the information checks out on each of these points, it has a high likelihood of being accurate. Still, passing the test is not a guarantee that it’s fact.
- Copyright: I always ask students to check the bottom of the webpage to see if the information has been submitted for ownership.
- Verification with multiple sources: Students must double check the information on a few different web pages. Like in a trial, the more corroborating witnesses, the more likely the truth will be discovered.
- Credibility of source, such as between History.com versus a random unknown source: I tell them to check if the source has been recently created. Sources that have been around for a while can show reliability over time and be tested by hindsight, whereas recently created sources don’t carry much of a track record.
- Date published: I always ask them to check how recently the page was updated to see how current the information is and whether anything has changed.
- Author’s expertise and background with the subject: Students should check if the author is someone who has dedicated time and effort to learning this subject. For example, a university professor typically has increased credibility versus a hobbyist.
- Does it match your prior knowledge: I ask them if the information matches up with what they have learned before
- Does it seem realistic: I tell students to use their common sense. Does something seem authentic or probable?