California Educator

March 2017

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Page 35 of 55

ake news — misinformation found in publications and on websites that look deceptively newsy — has always been around. But as the Internet and social media have made distribution and sharing of fake news faster and easier, its impact has been distressing. Many times fake news has been accepted as real. Students in par ticular have a hard time discerning fact from fiction. A 2016 Stanford University study found that , for example, 80 percent of students could not distinguish between ads dressed up as news stories and the real thing. Four in 10 believed the headline of a photo of deformed flowers was strong evidence of toxic conditions near a nuclear plant , despite no source or location given for the photo. Educators are helping students understand the importance of critical thinking, credibility and fact-checking when it comes to sorting truth from falsehoods. Real-life lessons about fake news By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman Cherina Betters' seventh-grade class found it challenging to distinguish fake news from real news. 34 teaching & learning TRUTH A SEARCH FOR

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