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Concordia EdTech Podcast: Real Advice from Educators to Help Students Spot Fake News

By Brandon Fisher
Concordia EdTech Podcast: Real Advice from Educators to Help Students Spot Fake News

Technology has certainly made it easier to access a world of information, but it has also made it more difficult to spot what’s real and what’s not. With fake news on Facebook and Google swaying public opinion, and with voice and image cloning software being used to create fraudulent videos, how do we know what news is real and what’s fake? More importantly, how do we prepare students to spot the fakes? A study from the Stanford History Education Group reports that students today generally have trouble evaluating news and other information they see online. With so much news coming from vastly different (and questionable) media sources, students need to learn to filter the information they consume from the internet. In the episode of Concordia International School Shanghai’s EdTech podcast, “Are You Ready to Be Amazed?” the EdTech team shares tips and resources teachers can use to help their students evaluate and interpret online news in order to best determine what information to trust. “Kids and young adults these days are not necessarily getting their news from the same places their parents did,” says Daniel Mendes, Concordia EdTech podcaster and media literacy specialist. “Many get their information from blogs and social media.” This makes it even easier for them to encounter unreliable information that has been deliberately created to sway their judgement. It’s not just misleading headlines and news articles that students have to look out for; audio and video clips can be manipulated as well. Software already exists that can clone voices and alter video to make anyone appear to say just about anything. This technology is making it harder to distinguish between real and fake information, says podcast co-host Dennis Grice, and it is rapidly becoming more sophisticated. Making sure students understand the factors that drive news judgment empowers them to be responsible media consumers and producers. It is the responsibility of educators and parents to better equip kids with the fact-checking and news literacy skills that allow them to become more discerning consumers of information. So far, says Mendes and Grice, the best way for students to discern between real and fake information is to ask themselves: where is this information coming from? Who’s the source and what are they gaining by sharing this information?

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