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Fake News and the Post-Truth Era: Classroom Exercises/Activities

Information Literacy in the Curriculum

Below is a list of ideas for engaging your students in exploring and discovering the topic of fake news and how it affects our everyday lives.  

  • Select one or more of the sources from the List of Resources tab, have your students read it, and then engage in a lively class discussion. Suggested starter questions might be:
    • What is "post truth"? How have various recent political and socio-cultural events shaped our understanding of what "post-truth" means?
    • The Oxford English Dictionary designated "post-truth" as its 2016 Word of the Year. Why do you think that is?
      To help answer this question, go to Google News, type in a search for:
                post-truth Oxford English Dictionary 2016 Word of the Year
      and read several news articles about it. Do not just stick with one or two; select a variety of publications. 

    • What should/should not be our responsibility in regards to sharing fake news? Do we need to worry about it? What might the ramifications be of sharing fake news? Why should you care?  
  • Watch one or more of the Videos listed in the List of Resources tab and use the Prompt Questions to facilitate a discussion. 
  • Explore the Hoaxy and Snopes websites and compare results.
    "Hoaxy visualizes the spread of claims and related fact checking online. A claim may be a fake news article, hoax, rumor, conspiracy theory, satire, or even an accurate report. Anyone can use Hoaxy to explore how claims spread across social media. You can select any matching fact-checking articles to observe how those spread as well."
    • Have students identify/find some news stories they suspect might be fake, perhaps something they have seen on social media. Have them plug in some key words/phrases into both Hoaxy and Snopes to see what they can find out about it!
  • Use Google Reverse Image Search or TinEye to reverse-search an image.
    • Have students find some images they suspect might have been doctored or Photoshopped, perhaps something they have seen on social media. Reverse-image searching can be a great tool for debunking fake photos.
    • To use Google Reverse Image Search, go to Google Image and click on the camera icon in the search box. Copy-and-paste the photo's url, or upload the image.