6-12, Critical Thinking, Teaching Tools, Websites

Factitious and Spot the Troll

UPDATE 10/22/2020: I found so many more websites for evaluating online information that I corrected a Wakelet list. Click here to view it.

Like many of you, I am worried about the misinformation flying around on social media, especially lately. The incendiary posts that seem to be easily flung from one person to another are exacerbating the anger and hopelessness many are already feeling due to months of restrictions.

It’s more essential than ever to teach our students how to look for reliable sources and information. I generally use Snopes.com if I am fact-checking anything, and it seems extremely unbiased and well-balanced. If you are looking for other potential fact-checking sites, this page from the American University Library has a list.

While I was looking at the AU site, I noticed a link to a game called, Factitious. You can play the game to determine whether news articles are fake or genuine. The original game is from 2018, but there is also a Pandemic Edition. The game seems suitable for middle school and up.

Another interesting quiz to try, which was shared on Facebook (sorry, I can’t remember who share it with me!) is the Clemson University Media Forensics Hub game, Spot the Troll, shows you social media profiles of 8 different account, and you must decide if they represent real people or not.

Both of these games give more information about how to spot “fakes” online. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules, as the people behind this misinformation are becoming more sophisticated. The biggest takeaway is to never accept what you read online at face value without doing some digging – especially if it seems designed to incite fear or anger.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

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