We have all seen something online that we believed was true only to go and find out it was false. Misinformation is extremely prevalent in this new era of digital media and news.
Many times I have come across unreliable or even sketchy sources during some sort of research. I always make sure to click out of the site and do some quick background research. I am also aware that I should not use sources personal blogs or others’ projects. I like to think I am quite good at checking out websites and I am also pretty aware of some reliable news sources. Like many others, I get my news from social media, mainly Twitter. Twitter does a decent job of curating news on entertainment, politics, and world events and I make sure to follow reliable sources like AP, C-SPAN, and sometimes NPR. They also have a new feature where it lets you read up on things before you repost a news story.
In The “Always Check” Approach to Online Literacy, Mike Caufield makes an interesting statement towards the end that made me think about my checking of sources; I usually think I am pretty good about making sure something is reliable but I never really considered spoofs of websites, kind of crazy stuff. This article was also good because it looked at the issue from the perspective of its’ importance to education as a whole. “Because it is these simple behaviors, applied as habits and enforced as norms, that have the power to change the web as we know it, to break our cycle of reaction and recognition, and ultimately to get even our deeper investigations off to a better start.”
The article, How to Help Students Spot Misinformation has a quote that wraps up our dilemma very well, “the Internet has democratized access to information but in so doing has opened the floodgates to misinformation..”. Finding information has been made much easier thanks to the internet but along with it came plenty of false information ready to misinform a viewer. A double-edged sword of sorts. More importantly, this issue is something we will face as historians and as future educators. It is important we show our students the proper way to find and to identify credible and reliable sources. Caufield’s article gives us a few ideas as to how properly check a website. This sort of info could be incredibly important to our students in both their academic and personal lives.