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Real or Fake?

Posted by on April 16, 2017

As my middle-schoolers are using technology more to learn the importance of media literacy, I have been giving them examples or resources that I have personally vetted to make sure the information I present my students is always accurate and factual. I felt that they needed to learn the basics how to analyze things found online before I started showing them that the internet will very often lie to them.

To me, one of the most important part of VA English/Language Arts SOL 7.3 is:
b) Distinguish … between evidence and inference.

The students will gather themselves into groups, making sure that each group has either a iPhone or an iPad with the Aurasma app. I will hand out the four example (“trigger images”) that I created (or search for #emd) and in their groups, the students will look at the images I presented to think about them. I still need to make the worksheet to go with this activity, but it will have questions that reflect both the trigger image and the overlay.

At first glance, does the image look like it could be true? How do they think the images circulated around the internet? I want them to really think about the image as it is presented to them with little context, as when they are scrolling through social media and see pictures like these ones, the students might not always the background information necessary to understand the image. The students will need to know who Vladimir Putin in, what ‘euthanasia’ means, and have some understanding of suicide bombers.

When they have discussed the images, they will take turns using the Aurasma app to see the truth behind each image; some of the Aurasma overlays include the original picture before it was digitally manipulated, some use other socially relevant memes or social media posts. After learning the reality behind each image, the students will discuss how knowing the truth changes how they see the image I gave them. Was there any way to tell that the image was false now that they know? If they saw these false/fake news spread around social media, would they call out the posters for spreading false information? Are any of the misconceptions presented in the images more important to correct than others?


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