Developing Digital Detectives: Essential Lessons for Discerning Fact From Fiction in the ‘Fake News’ Era (2021)

Written by: Jennifer LaGarde and Darren Hudgins
Published by: International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
ISBN-13: 978-1564849052
ISBN-10: 1564849058
Audience: K-12 educators and library media specialists
Description: From the authors of the bestselling Fact vs. Fiction, this book offers easy-to-implement lessons to engage students in becoming media literacy “digital detectives,” looking for clues, questioning motives, uncovering patterns, developing theories and, ultimately, delivering a verdict.
The current news landscape is driven by clicks, with every social media influencer, trained and citizen journalists chasing the same goal: a viral story. In this environment, where the race to be first on the scene with the most sensational story often overshadows the need for accuracy, traditional strategies for determining information credibility are no longer enough. Rather than simply helping students become savvy information consumers, today’s educators must provide learners with the skills to be digital detectives – information interrogators who are armed with a variety of tools for dissecting news stories and determining what’s real and what isn’t in our “post-truth world.” This book:

  • Shares meaningful lessons that move beyond traditional “fake news” protocols to help learners navigate a world in which information can be both a force for good and a tool used to influence and manipulate.
  • Includes resources and examples to support educators in the work of facilitating engaging, relevant (and fun!) instructional opportunities for K-12 learners, in both face-to-face and digital learning environments.
  • Unpacks the connection between social-emotional learning and information literacy.
  • Includes access to the Digital Detective’s Evidence Locker, an online collection of over 100 downloadable and remixable resources to support the lessons in the book.
  • As the authors state: “Remember, the detective’s job is NOT to prove themselves correct. Their job is to detect the truth!” This statement reflects the way they approach the lessons in this book, providing clear and practical guidance to help educators address and overcome this ever-expanding issue.
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Fact vs. Fiction: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Age of Fake News (2018)

Written by: Jennifer LaGarde and Darren Hudgins
Published by: International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
ISBN-13: 978-1564847041
ISBN-10: 1564847047
Audience: K-12 educators and library media specialists
Description: Help students discern fact from fiction in the information they access not only at school but in the devices they carry in their pockets and backpacks. The advent of the 24-hour news cycle, citizen journalism and an increased reliance on social media as a trusted news source have had a profound effect not only on how we get our news, but also on how we evaluate sources of information, share that information and interact with others in online communities. When these issues are coupled with the “fake news” industry that intentionally spreads false stories designed to go viral, educators are left facing a new and challenging landscape. This book will help them address these new realities, providing strategies and support to help students develop the skills needed to effectively evaluate information they encounter online. The book includes:

  • Instructional strategies for combating fake news, including models for evaluating news stories with links to resources on how to include lessons on fake news in your curricula.
  • Examples from prominent educators who demonstrate how to tackle fake news with students and colleagues.
  • A fake news self-assessment with a digital component to help readers evaluate their skills in detecting and managing fake news.
  • A downloadable infographic with mobile media literacy tips.
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Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots (2020)

Written by: Michael Rex
Illustrated by: Michael Rex
Published by: Nancy Paulsen Books
ISBN-13: 978-1984816269
ISBN-10: 1984816268
Audience: Kindergarten to 3rd grade
Description: Do you know the difference between a fact and an opinion? It can be a hard thing to understand. Some things are facts—like the number of robots in this book. Other things are opinions—like which robot would make the best friend, or which robot dances best. And sometimes to tell the difference between a fact and an opinion, you need to wait to get more information—that’s because facts can be proven true or false, and opinions are things you feel and believe—but that you can’t prove. In this colorful picture book, young readers are introduced to important distinctions between facts and opinions, and reminded to kindly listen to other’s opinions and stand up for facts.
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Fake News (2020)

Written by: Tom Jackson
Illustrated by: Cristina Guitian
Published by: QEB Publishing
Series: What’s the Issue?
ISBN-13: 978-0711250345
ISBN-10: 0711250340
Audience: 4th to 7th grade
Description: What is fake news? How can the news be wrong? How do we know if what we’re reading is true or not? The concept of fake news and the media as a whole is discussed as part of the What’s the Issue? series. What’s the Issue asks “what’s all the fuss about?,” reviewing what is at stake when we think about fake news aimed at helping young people understand this difficult subject and provide them with tools to inform their own opinions on the issue.
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Fighting Fake News! Teaching Critical Thinking and Media Literacy in a Digital Age (Apr 1, 2018)

Written by: Brian C. Housand Ph.D
Illustrated by: Cristina Guitian
Published by: Routledge
ISBN-13: 978-1618217288
ISBN-10: 1618217283
Audience: 4th to 6th grade
Description: Educators have long struggled to teach students to be critical consumers of the information that they encounter. This struggle is exacerbated by the amount of information available thanks to the Internet and mobile devices. Students must learn how to determine whether or not the information they are accessing is reputable. Fighting Fake News! focuses on applying critical thinking skills in digital environments while also helping students and teachers to avoid information overload. According to a 2017 Pew Research report, we are now living in a world where 67% of people report that they get their “news” from social media. With the lessons and activities in this book, students will be challenged to look at the media they encounter daily to learn to deepen and extend their media literacy and critical thinking skills. Now more than ever, teachers need the instruction in Fighting Fake News! to teach students how to locate, evaluate, synthesize, and communicate information.
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The Nantucket Sea Monster (2017)

Written by: Darcy Pattison
Illustrated by: Peter Willis
Published by: Mims House
ISBN-13: 978-1629440835
ISBN-10: 1629440833
Audience: Kindergarten to 6th grade
Description: Do you believe everything you read in the newspaper? Early in August 1937, a news flash came: a sea monster had been spotted lurking off the shore of Nantucket Island. Historically, the Massachusetts island had served as port for whaling ships. Eyewitnesses swore this wasn’t a whale, but some new, fearsome creature. As eyewitness account piled up, newspaper stories of the sea monster spread quickly. Across the nation, people shivered in fear. Then, footprints were found on a Nantucket beach. Photographs were sent to prominent biologists for their opinion. Discussion swirled about raising a hunting party. On August 18, news spread across the island: the sea monster had been captured. Islanders ran to the beach and couldn’t believe their eyes.
This nonfiction picture book, the 2018 selection for Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Awards and 2017 Nonfiction Junior Library Guild Selection, is a perfect tool to discuss non-political fake news stories. Includes information about the freedom of the press guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, Thomas Jefferson’s quotes on fake news always being one of the costs of a free press, a historically accurate timeline of actual events, and a vocabulary list defining relevant terms.
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True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Fake News (2020)

Written by: Cindy L. Otis
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
ISBN-13: 978-1250239495
ISBN-10: 1250239494
Audience: Preteens and teens
Description: “Fake news” is a term you’ve probably heard a lot in the last few years, but it’s not a new phenomenon. From the ancient Egyptians to the French Revolution to Jack the Ripper and the founding fathers, fake news has been around as long as human civilization. But that doesn’t mean that we should just give up on the idea of finding the truth.
In True or False, former CIA analyst Cindy Otis takes readers through the history and impact of fake news over the centuries, sharing stories from the past and insights that readers today can gain from them. Then, she shares lessons learned in over a decade working for the CIA, including actionable tips on how to spot fake news, how to make sense of the information we receive each day, and, perhaps most importantly, how to understand and see past our own information biases, so that we can think critically about important issues and put events happening around us into context.
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