Random Thoughts

Who do you believe?

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Like many people I’ve been trying to get as much information as possible about what continues to be an unfolding situation in Japan. But unlike many of you I don’t have a TV or read a newspaper. All my news comes from the Internet and what I can find and verify for myself. 

But of course I’m not the only one doing this. In fact a recent survey just released by Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism stats that at the end of 2010 more people got their news from the Internet than newspapers. That’s all fine and dandy because we’ve seen this coming for awhile now. But the bigger news is this:

Of course, the 18-to-29-year-old group overwhelmingly cast their vote with the web; 65% said the Internet was their main news source.

So we’re seeing the next generation overwhelemingly use the web to get their information and the generation behind them I’m sure will up that number even more.

So I keep thinking…where, when and are we teaching students to authenticate, evaluate, and analyze the information coming at them? No matter the media. We are doing this in education right? We’re taking time…especially when an opportunity like this presents itself to teach students this skill?

A great place to start. Go to Twitter’s search page

Do a search for #japan

Watch the stream….what do you believe? who do you believe? 

Or go to Google News and see the different presepctives from different online newspapers.

Where do you begin in teaching these skills? Chris Betcher has a great slide deck that will get you started.

The problem is it takes time. It takes time to vet the information. But in a world where the speed of information trumps authenticity us the user needed to authentic the information ourselves. This is our world….an always on…always expected to be on…up to the minute…breaking story…world we live in. If you wait for the evening news it’s old news.

Yesterday while working through my own process of looking for reliable information I followed links to this great site. http://mitnse.com/ which was set up and is run by MITs Nuclear Science and Engineering Department. After finding this site and coming to my own conclusions that it’s a reliable striaght forward non-political site I started following it, read every article on the site and it’s now where I go first to get the real meaning of all these numbers you hear about, the different explosions and what they mean. I’ve learned more about how nuclear reactors work, what is worrying and what is not by educating myself from a website I trust.

At the end of the day every user needs to come to their own conclusion, but are we preparing students to find, verify, and educated themselves in an information overload world? 

I sure hope so because there is a load of misinformation out there and people taking the opporunity to push their own agenda rather than reports facts. These are the skills of the new information world we live in…and I really hope we’re teaching them to our students!

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Pingback: On Our Minds @ Scholastic » In Our Feeds: Japan, award predictions, and how social media affected journalism

  2. This is an excellent idea, thank you. I am currently trying to get my students to triangulate information and this will be a great asset. We all need be teaching these skills to our students.

  3. In my World Studies class, we usually spent about 10-15 minutes a day covering current events. We usually use CNN Student News or our local newspaper as our resource. Often times, I spend part of this class time dispelling some misinformation my students have picked up via various forms of media, friends, parents, etc. Thanks for providing that slideshare on evaluating websites–I think I will show and discuss that further with my students.

    I want to teach my students to become more self sufficient in deciphering through these various forms of media. I know my students default action would be to google a topic and take the top result as fact–no matter what. I almost feel that the students need to make the mistakes in google searching, etc and see in reality just how wrong/skewed/etc the information is before they can make a generalization.

    Thanks again for posting!


  4. Pingback: Spring Roundup: A different perspective on validating resources - instructional technology network

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