California Educator

March 2017

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Page 38 of 55

A S T U D Y B Y the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) used this image of deformed daisies posted on a photo-sharing site in 2015 with a headline linking it to a 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. The caption included the statement: " This is what happens when flowers get nuclear birth defects." SHEG asked more than 170 high school students if the post provided strong evidence about conditions near the power plant. "Nearly 40 percent ... argued that the post provided strong evidence because it presented pictorial evidence about conditions near the power plant," reports SHEG. Most "relied on [the photo] to evaluate the trustwor- thiness of the post. They ignored key details, such as the source of the photo." The study administered 56 tasks to students across 12 states for a total of 7,804 responses, testing young people's ability to reason about information on the Internet. Its final assessment: "bleak." See the executive summary of "Eval- uating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning" (2016) at 37 March 2017 Fend Off Fake News Use PBS NewsHour's lesson plan at, or KQED's lesson plan at, to teach students how to detect fake news. The questions below can help students assess the likelihood that a piece of information is fake news. 1. Gauge your emotional reaction: Are you angry? Are you intensely hoping that the information is true? False? 2. How did you encounter it? Was it promoted on a website, on a social media feed, or sent to you by someone you know? 3. Consider the headline or main message: Does it use excessive punc- tuation(!!) or ALL CAPS for emphasis? Does it claim to be secret? 4. Is it designed for easy sharing, like a meme? 5. Consider the source: Is it well-known? Is an author 's name attached? How does the website describe itself ? Are there editorial standards? Does the contact email address match the domain (not a Gmail or Yahoo email address)? Does a search for the name of the site raise any suspicions? 6. Is there a current date on the information? 7. Does it cite a variety of sources, including official and expert sources that you can verify? Does this information appear in reports from (other) news outlets? 8. Does it hyperlink to other quality sources (that have not been altered or taken from another context)? 9. Can you confirm, using a reverse image search, that its images are authentic (not altered or taken from another context)? 10. On fact-checking sites such as or, is it labeled as less than true? Source: The News Literacy Project and Checkology. For the full list of questions, see Not much more to say, this is what happens when flowers get nuclear birth defects Fukushima Nuclear Flowers by pleasegoogleShakerAamerpleasegoogleDavidKelly a month ago H STORY EDUCATION GROUP

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