About information literacy
Planning information literacy learning
Almost three-quarters of young people say social media is an important source of news to them – although there is growing awareness of its trustworthiness only around a third of young people will question what they read. (Ofcom, 2019)
As this content is dependent on being read, viewed or heard online it makes sense to bundle digital literacy and literacy and English experiences and outcomes, such as:
- Searching, processing and managing information responsibly, TCH x-02a
- Cyber resilience and internet safety, TCH x-03a
- Recognise the difference between fact and opinion and progressing to evaluative comments about relevance reliability and credibility with appropriate justification, LIT x-18a
This learning is often taught in the context of ‘fake news’ but ‘false or misleading information’ is a more accurate term. False or misleading information can be potentially dangerous when it relates to medical or health claims and requires learners to be smarter about how they engage with online content.
Consume. Create. Communicate.
Educators should help children and young people understand how to engage critically with content the consume, create and communicate.
Learners should understand the risks of deliberate misinformation and know how to identify content that is misleading. They should be aware of how to manage their feeds to reduce the chances of seeing misinformation or harmful content and be able to use the platform’s reporting tools to report this type of content.
More challenging is supporting learners to consider the impact of content they share and the part they play when they share malicious misinformation. Discussions, linked in to PSHE can be an effective way to explore the harms of spreading misinformation.
These resources can be used to explore the features of ‘fake news’ and deliberate misinformation and how to identify and avoid it: GCF Global resources
There are a number of credible and reliable websites offering fact checks:
Reality Check – BBC News
FactCheck – Channel 4 News
Reuters Fact Check
Fact Check: Political & News Fact Check | AP News
Fact Check Tools (google.com)
For teachers using Microsoft Teams, the Search Coach tool is useful to evaluate search results; each result in a search has a ‘reliability score’ that informs learners of the validity of the source: Microsoft Search Coach
Who can help?
Internet Matters has an in-depth guide on misinformation here: Internet Matters
Information literacy is also a key role of school librarians and they are always willing to support learning about it. Find out more about how school librarians can support information literacy learning.
The literacy and English curricular team at Education Scotland have more on their national Professional Learning Community site:
Resources for educators
This site has lots of free lessons and resources, including this series of lessons on how to interpret and evaluate information online. The lessons are progressive, relevant and each one comes with activities that are easy to adapt for your learners’ needs.
The Detective Digiduck story and resources from Childnet, and author Lindsay Buck, are a great introduction to CRIS and information literacy. In this story Digiduck finds that not everything on the internet can be trusted and that you need to check the reliability of it from a range of sources.
This site has lots of information, videos and activities to support you develop your learners’ understanding of what fake news is and how it affects us.
The NLT has a fake news and critical literacy resources page with cross-curricular resources for learners of all ages.
They also have their Words for Life page that explains what fake news is, how to spot it and links to The Guardian NewsWise content and has a section on child-friendly news sites: Child-friendly news | NewsWise | The Guardian
Moving Image Education has lots of resources and information to support you teach film literacy, including this activity that supports learners evaluate and analyse YouTube content. Let the learners lead the learning by selecting their own video and then analysing it with this scaffolded activity.
Ofcom hosts this site which contains information about media literacy – what it is and how to teach it – alongside reports that explain how, what and why children and young people are accessing media. Read the latest research on the impact of covid on children’s media lives here.