For this week’s #BloggerMondays share, I am highlighting the great blog of Jennifer Casa Todd. Casa Todd, a teacher-librarian, in Ontario, Canada, is a great resource for all educators due to her work supporting K-12 teachers in her district. Her work on media literacy comes at a critical time for educators as we try to support students in their search for credible sources of information. A recent post, “Critical Thinking and Fake News,” gives an idea of the short but powerful lessons that Casa Todd shares routinely:
My daughter Kelsey wants to buy a pair of “Air pods” but doesn’t want to spend lots of money to purchase the official brand. She shared that she had seen several on Amazon, and she narrowed down her search to a couple with “excellent reviews.”
So I asked her how she knew if the excellent reviews were real? I could tell by her “Seriously mom” look that she didn’t believe that was a thing.
Sure enough, we read through a few of them and questioned the validity and she began to see that maybe her mom wasn’t so crazy after all. Although fake reviews are not a pervasive problem, using critical thinking is a skill I want to encourage in my daughter and my students. This article points out some interesting tactics used by some companies.
I later stumbled upon this website, Fakespot, which allows you to paste a review to check its validity.
Like anything, I would balance critique with creation. Crafting a positive review (Goodreads for a book, Yelp for a restaurant, or Amazon for a product) is a great media activity which helps kids understand the interplay between audience, text, and purpose.
If you are looking for a more in-depth look at how to help students tackle the world of technology and social-media overload in a constructive manner, check out Casa Todd’s blog and her book, SocialLEADdia.
[Editor’s Note: eSchool News will be highlighting a different blog every Monday. Send your favorites to firstname.lastname@example.org.]