Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BOGUS or LEGIT?

In this Age of Information, anyone can publish anything if they have the right resources.  It's
becoming increasingly important to guide students in developing the skills to evaluate the information they access.  Evaluation of information often requires extensive critical thinking skills, and while it shouldn't be boiled down to a quick checklist that negates the thinking process, I do think it's helpful to guide students in remembering the various components that need to be analyzed.  I've been toying around with these two acronyms in an attempt to develop something students could use to remember the various components that should be considered when reading content.

Is it BOGUS?  If a student answers YES to any of these questions when evaluating content, it should raise a red flag.  It doesn't necessarily mean the information is false or unworthy, but students should cautiously and carefully proceed with how they use the information for their own purposes.  For example, if a student is writing an argument about gun control laws, statistics about gun usage during the 1980s wouldn't be the most current.  It doesn't mean those statistics are untrue, but the information could be outdated in the context of a modern-day argument.  A student could use that information in comparison with current statistics to show an increase or decrease in usage over time.  This is a simple example, but I see high school students struggle to think about these elements when reading information.

Is it LEGIT? If a student answers NO to any of these questions, they will want to reconsider if it's the most legitimate source to use.  Each layer of these acronyms could be unpacked with questions for consideration and examples.  I hope to develop some of these resources in the near future. If these acronyms would be useful for your students, feel free to use the images and share this post with others!  Also, please share your favorite strategies and resources for guiding students in evaluating information.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Je Suis Reminded

I am deeply saddened by the Parisian tragedy of yesterday and for all those involved, both directly and indirectly.  I'm also utterly amazed by the outpouring of response from journalists via professional publications and the common man via social media; it is truly a reminder of just how much free speech DOES pervade our society, perhaps more now than ever. Through social media, anyone can have a global audience.

Today our world is infiltrated with many more words of pain, sympathy, confusion, frustration, and anger.  In just a few minutes on Twitter, I noticed immediately the variety of hashtags trending on the subject.  To name a few, #jesuischarlie, #jenesuischarlie, and #jesuisahmed, all rich with varied perspectives and emotions.  History is being shaped by so many more perspectives, and as educators it is a solemn reminder to me of our calling to help students be informed consumers of media, constantly noting the unique backgrounds and contexts that shape both facts and opinions.

Should you happen to bring the topic into your classroom for learning and discussion, challenge your students to consider the many perspectives surrounding the reaction to this event, think all the way around the issue, evaluate ideas for bias and credibility, and then form personal opinions.  If then they will contribute their own ideas to the global conversation in a way that is productive and moves the conversation forward, we will be one step closer to creating modern thinkers and leaders.