Spotting Fake News Using Your Citation Skills

fake-1903823_640.jpgBack in December I shared a post on How to Spot Fake News, citing an article from Common Sense Media as a good read for this topic. The timing of this was a handy coincidence as I was in the process of teaching my 5th graders about plagiarism and finding trustworthy sources. Fast-forward to February, a new semester, and a new group of 6th graders to teach. As I get ready to teach my lesson on Copyright, Creative Commons and Citations, yet another article has surfaced connecting the process of citing the source with being able to spot fake news.

In an article from EasyBib on 10 Ways to Spot a Fake News Article, author Michele Kirschenbaum entertains the idea that the credibility of a news article can be determined in part by the ease with which we can build a proper citation for it. The success or failure to answer the questions that Kirschenbaum lists can give us an idea of how trustworthy the source may be. For example, if the article includes citations and references to where it got its facts from then that’s a good sign. However, if you have to hunt to identify who the author of the article is then this could be a red flag.

Constructing a proper citation from online sources is not always easy, even when you employ citation tools such as EasyBib, Citation Machine, or the Explore Tool inside of Google Docs. However, if a source is proving to be particularly difficult to cite then that might be a sign that its credibility should be questioned and that more scrutiny of the source be undertaken before you incorporate any of its information into your own research.

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Television Archive News Search Service (Gr. 5-12)

Television Archive News Search Service – 900,000 results and growing

Provided thanks to the non-profit group Internet Archive, the Television Archive contains over 909,000 video clips from news agencies in the United States and Great Britain. Search the database based on keyword and/or filter your results by number of views, title, date archived, or creator. Use the topic cloud down the right-side of the page to look up video clips from specific news agencies such as the BBC News, Mad Money, Frontline, Teen Kids News and more.

Once you make a selection, a film strip-like interface will load breaking down the video clip into 1-minute segments. Each segment will start out playing in a smaller window but can be expanded to play full screen. Many of the video clips also support closed captioning. Video segments can be shared via social media or embedded onto your website.

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Google Newspaper Archives (Gr. 6-12)

Google Newspaper Archives – Read newspapers from around the world!

From part of the Google News app, the newspaper archives contains digital versions of various newspaper editions from around the world from various points in time. Search the archive by keyword or alphabetically, or if you know the specific newspaper by name use the ‘Find’ command (Ctrl+F or Cmd+F) to quickly locate the newspaper in question. Each newspaper listing shows the number of issues contained within and the time span covered (note that there may be gaps within the timelines).

Clicking on a newspaper will take you to a new window with a horizontal timeline organized by year. You can adjust the display settings so that the timeline is organized by day, week, month, year, or decade. At the top of each column you will see the number of available issues. Clicking on an issue will bring up a page-by-page view with options to scroll, fit to height, and view fullscreen. Use the ‘Link to Article’ tool to generate a link to a specific article within a specific newspaper issue.

INTEGRATION

  • Compare and contrast news headlines from different newspapers from different places around the world.
  • Compare writing styles from different time periods.

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Google Calendar Now Has “Reminders”

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.31.26 PMIf you wanted to schedule a reminder using Google Calendar, using the Tasks tool was the way to go (just make sure you set a due date for the task). This worked great unless you were using the mobile version of Calendar since it doesn’t have nor display items from the Tasks tool. All of that changed last week when Google announced that Reminders has arrived for Google Calendar mobile.

How it works:

  1. On your mobile device, use the same Plus button you would use to create an event and choose the new Reminder option.
  2. Fill in the text box provided using the suggestion list provided or add your own custom reminder message. NOTE: Each reminder type contains its own list of pre-filled suggestions and the email, call, text, and meet options will automatically display your contacts list in the app window.
  3. Set your deadline.
  4. Determine if the reminder needs to repeat.
  5. Tap SAVE to finish.

One of my favorite features is that reminders “stick around.” If a reminder doesn’t get completed by the due date, then it will appear at the top of your Calendar agenda on the following day, and the day after, and so forth. The reminder will continue to “stick around” until you swipe it away (because you’ve completed the task of course) and move on to the next item on your to-do list.

Reminders is available for Android and Apple iOS, with a version for the web promised soon. For more information, check out their post on the Gmail blog.

 

The Monkey ‘Selfie’

While I was building a lesson on plagiarism and citations, I decided that I wanted to expand it and talk with my students in more detail about Copyright and Creative Commons licensing. And then our school librarian shared with me this story: “PETA suit claims monkey holds copyright to famous selfie.” I felt like I had just struck gold! This story is a great classroom discussion starter on the topic of ownership and how sticky this can sometimes be, especially when it comes to digital artifacts.

  • What is your take on this situation?
  • Who do you side with?

Calendar Comes to Google Classroom

Shortly after Google Classroom debuted, one of the components that teachers asked to be integrated into the app was Google Calendar. As the 2015-16 school year got underway, Classroom was still devoid of a calendar option. All appeared to be lost. But in reality, Google was on the case and in late September Google Calendar came to Classroom.

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There are two ways for students and teachers to access their Classroom’s Calendar:

  1. From the ‘sandwich’ menu in the top-left corner of Classroom
  2. From the ‘About’ tab

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 12.21.56 PMA third option is to access the Classroom’s Calendar directly from the Calendar app (there is also a shortcut to this option under the ‘About’ tab). Any assignment that is posted in Classroom that has a due date will appear in that Classroom’s calendar. And, just as in the Calendar App, teachers and students can filter assignments by specific classes or see all of the assignments from all of their classes on one screen. If teachers do not see their Classroom’s calendar in the Calendar App, then Google suggests that they may need to “Add a post to the class stream to create the calendar.”

Finally, now that a Classroom’s calendar can be accessed in the Calendar App there are more options at the teacher’s disposal to easily share this information with parents. Teachers can open up the sharing permissions on the Classroom calendar, then embed it on their teacher website. Parents who have Google accounts themselves will have the additional option to add their child’s Classroom calendar to their own Calendar App.

If a video would help explain these exciting new developments, then I would recommend checking out these two by Jenn Scheffer:


Google Forms Gets Cozy With Classroom

gClassroom add menuIn my Digital Citizenship class, I sometimes use a Google Form as an assessment tool with my students. While a Google Form cannot be embedded into Google Classroom’s Stream (soon Google, yes?), one can easily attach the link to the live form. The first time I did this I posted the Form link as an Announcement, but then couldn’t tell when students actually completed the assessment. The second time around I posted the Form link as part of an Assignment, but while students remembered to ‘Submit’ the completed Form many forgot to ‘Turn In’ the assignment in Classroom. Now, I realize that I could just open up the Form Responses spreadsheet to check for completion, but I was so hoping for a more…efficient way to spot-check completion. That’s when Google does what it does best: change.

Assignment attachment optionsLast week in the Google for Education feed on Google Plus, they announced improved integration between Classroom and Forms (click here for the post). Now you can attach a Google Form to an assignment in Classroom (i.e. forgo the paper clip option and instead choose ‘Attach Google Drive Item’).  Then, when students go to submit your Form, they will be prompted to also TURN IN the assignment in Classroom. As an added bonus, when teachers go to the Google Forms assignment in Classroom there is now a direct link to the Form Responses spreadsheet.

 

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Sometimes you just have to embrace “Living in Beta.”