Thanks to online statistics, there is a measure of online traffic for which information fluency is a protective filter:
"Since the start of the year there have been over 300 thousand unique online threats detected which attempt to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis and our desire for information on, and an end to, the pandemic." Source
You are encouraged to visit Statista.com to see the numbers for yourself:https://www.statista.com/chart/21286/known-coronavirus-related-malicious-online-threats/
The most targeted countries
are, in this order: United Kingdom, France, United States and Italy. The UK is targeted almost twice as much as France.
If you live in one of the affected areas, think twice about what arrives in your email and other online media.Check the author/publisher. Fact check claims. Don't be a victim.
A few election cycles ago, there was the story of Susie Flynn running for President. It was a hoax published by a media company to attract attention. It made for a pretty good fact checking evaluation challenge. Here's an archived reminder of the story
In today's news
is a story about a 17-year old who fabricated a Senate candidate named Andrew Walz and managed to get Twitter to verify the fake as legitimate. Here's some of the story from CNN:
"Earlier this month, Walz's account received a coveted blue check mark from Twitter as part of the company's broader push to verify the authenticity of many Senate, House and gubernatorial candidates currently running for office. Twitter has framed this effort as key to helping Americans find reliable information about politicians in the lead up to the 2020 election."
Not until the 17-year old's parents came forward with the story did anyone notice the problem.
One takeaway is that if a bored teen can exploit Twitter's election integrity efforts, what else is that publisher missing?
We are foolish if we allow others to think for us, assuring us what to believe, what to trust. There is really no substitute for honing our skills and taking time to do our own vetting.
The story of Andrew Walz is another wake up call to practice fact checking. What details in Andrew Walz's campaign can't be verified? Post your answers below.More on fact checking here
Tracking down an author's name online can be a tough assignment.
Let's say you want to reference a story about Polly the Polar Bear that you find here
Who is the author? For this challenge, find the author's first and last name. It CAN be done, although it requires strategy and persistence.
If you give up, click the link to the Author Tutorials in the challenge.
Especially for those who teach younger students, the Elementary Workshop is a user-guided resource that may be used to introduce and reinforce concepts and skills in information fluency in the elementary grades.
An assortment of hands-on learning activities and games, with and without computers, is included in the workshop:
There's enough material to insert into mini-lessons throughout the school year. Check it out here: https://21cif.com/rkitp/course/elementaryworkshop/index.php
We already know Google is wildly popular, the go-to search engine for most students and a disruptive innovator in search technology.But it can't do everything.
There are many times a non-trivial question arises and Google is not the right tool. It's fine for most easy searches, but when the information needed is more complex or you can't think of the right keywords to use, Google hits a wall.
At times like these, having information fluency skills is essential. Searching may require a different, specialized search engine. Knowing how to learn to use an unfamiliar search engine is highly important. So are investigative skills to check out questionable news. Google is not your one stop shop for all that.
Finding specialized research articles is one example. The first of the three free Internet Search Challenges is one of those
If you have your own example of a time when Google was not the answer, feel free to share it here.