Thursday, May 2, 2019

US students fall short in 'fake news' digital literacy tasks

Finnish sources recently shared the results of a study at an international school in which students "significantly outperformed U.S. students on tasks which measure digital literacy in social media and online news." source

The study suggests the differences are due to the way the Finnish curricula facilitates students' critical thinking skills, compared to the US.  In the Finnish International Baccalaureate school, critical thinking skills are taught explicitly in dedicated courses as well as the more traditional core subjects. In the US, critical thinking instruction occurs implicitly into subject coursework. For example, a course called Theory of Knowledge is aimed at developing critical thinking skills. Other courses extend this development in subject matter areas.

One takeaway from this study is the benefits to students who receive explicit instruction in critical thinking throughout the curriculum. Stanford University researchers, upon whose work this research is based, has labeled US students' abilities to discern fake news 'dismaying' and 'bleak.' 

Programs for facilitating critical thinking, when it comes to fake news, are available on sites such as Information Fluency. What is needed is the will of educational leaders to dedicate space in curriculum and instruction to their application.

Here are just a few of the resources that are available around which to design a course or embed in traditional subject matter:

15 Challenges (includes 8 Challenges on Investigative Searching/Thinking)
WSI (Website Investigator)
Author Tutorial (Investigative Searching/Thinking)
Publisher Tutorial
Bias Tutorial
Freshness Tutorial

The results of the study may be found in the April 2019 Journal of Research in International Education.

Introducing the 15 Challenges

Confused by where or how to get started on the path to Information Fluency?

Introducing the 15 Challenges, a new portal to Information Fluency. By completing these fifteen challenges, users are introduced to essential digital searching and evaluation tasks that include:

  • browsing
  • truncation
  • effective keyword queries
  • basic operators
  • finding better keywords in snippets
  • database selection
  • evaluating an author
  • evaluating a publisher
  • detecting bias
  • checking online reputation
  • fact checking
  • freshness checking
  • creating proper citations
Try it for yourself here:

Read more about the 15 Challenges in the Spring 2019 Full Circle Resource Kit

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Winter 2019 Full Circle Kit

The winter 2019 Full Circle Kit is now available online,

This quarter the topic is helping know where to look--database mining. This is different than data mining in that the process relies on student thinking to select relevant information, as opposed to software and algorithms that detect patterns in massive amounts of data.

If you find yourself creating search lists for your students, you need to read this article.

In addition to the feature article (viewable without a subscription), there is also a guide to curricular integration and assessment (with a subscription).

If you know a database you recommend students mine for information, post your suggestion here along with the type of assignment (e.g., history research paper). We'll gladly add your recommendations to the Feature article and credit you.

Winter 2019 Full Circle Kit

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Author Detective

Introducing the third revision in our series of Investigative Searching tutorials: AUTHOR.

No need to rely on the old Flash files any longer. There are 11 challenges in this set, from finding the name of an author to evaluating the author's credibility.

Get started here:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Publisher Detective

Just released: Publisher Detective

Try it for free for a limited time. Nine exercises to help searchers track down and evaluate publishers of online information. Helps in the hunt for credible news.

This replaces the flash version archived on our site.

Friday, December 7, 2018

New Tutorial: Date Detective

In an effort to replace old Flash tutorials, we've undertaken the redesign of several interactive MicroModule tutorials. The first one is the DATE tutorial--how to track down publication dates of digital sources.

There are 10 activities in this set that start with determining the best date to cite to locating hard-to-find publication dates using queries, browsing and metadata.  30 points are possible. A score that demonstrates investigative competency is a 25 or higher.

Give it a try! How strong are your investigative skills?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Needle and Haystack

For a limited time, try out a new feature: Needle and Haystack.

These four search challenges are based on several challenges recently posted in this blog. The format includes clues that lead the way to the solutions.

Try them out and leave any feedback you want.

The subscription version will track user's scores and include additional challenges.