- As internet news and social media gain traction among students, there is an increasing need for stronger discussion in journalism and English courses about news-gathering techniques and how to spot a credible source.
- Among other things, students should be taught the difference between free and subscription-based news sources and how to broaden their media consumption, according to a recent edWeb webinar featuring Greg Toppo, a national education reporter at USA Today.
- Toppo's advice also included sharing the four elements of good, objective journalism: completeness, honesty, accuracy and fairness.
On the heels of a contentious election that kept fact-checkers busy, media literacy has become an increasingly important part of developing students' 21st-century skill sets. In a recent study highlighted by Alan November in eSchool News, 80% of middle school students had difficulty telling real from inaccurate news. November's approach involves teaching students to be smart web researchers and to develop their curiosity on a subject beyond surface level.
Media literacy directly ties into critical thinking — an important 21st-century skill. As highlighted in the webinar, library media specialists often have a unique blend of research skills and media literacy knowledge and can be instrumental in working with teachers to design lessons for students. At some schools, these media literacy courses are already bearing fruit. Researchers at several universities are also creating curriculum that is helping students to decide if a news site is credible or not.