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Posts Tagged ‘Information Literacy’

Poll: Should More Be Done to Regulate Fake News?

Strengthening information literacy skills is one way to fight the spread of fake news. However, according to a recent Pew Research poll, many Americans also believe that social media sites, search engines, and the government have a responsibility to stop fake news. Facebook, widely criticized for its role in spreading fake news, recently announced efforts to tackle the problem. Critics, though, argue that this approach could lead to censorship.

The “That’s Debatable!” poll, a popular polling feature in SIRS Issues Researcher, has been asking users all month whether fake news should be regulated. So far, users have overwhelmingly voted yes: fake news should indeed be regulated. What do you think? Should social media sites, search engines, and the government regulate fake news? Or is it the responsibility of news consumers to identify fake news on their own? Take our poll, and tell us what you think.

Are your students equipped with the information literacy skills to identify fake news? ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to learn information literacy skills. Free trials are available.

How to Identify Fake News in 10 Steps

Fake news is a problem. Information illiteracy is an even bigger problem. A Stanford University study released last November found that most students could not identify fake news because they lacked basic information literacy skills. The good news? We are finally having a national conversation on the importance of teaching information literacy, which teachers and librarians have been talking about for years.

Unfortunately, a recent ProQuest survey found that only 25% of librarians thought their library adequately supported information literacy instruction. Thankfully, there are information literacy resources available on the web. Damon Brown’s TED-ED video “How to Choose Your News” offers a quick, student-friendly introduction to information and media literacy. ProQuest’s editable guided research worksheet “How to Identify Fake News in 10 Steps” helps students become skeptical news consumers.

Want more resources? See eLibrary’s new comprehensive Research Topic on Fake News.

ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to learn information literacy skills. Free trials are available.

Fake News & the Importance of Information Literacy

 “If you have a society where people can’t agree on basic facts,
how do you have a functioning democracy?”
Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron

ProQuest recently surveyed 217 librarians from university, community college, high school and public libraries in North America for their views and insights on information literacy. While 83% of librarians surveyed agree that information literacy affects college graduation rates and 97% believe that it contributes to success in the workforce, only 21% think that their users recognize information literacy’s effect on lifelong success, and 44% believe that their library does not support information literacy instruction as much as it should. Read a report on the full results of ProQuest’s 2016 Information Literacy Survey.

 What Is Fake News?

Although there are many definitions of fake news, the main characteristic is that it is created with an intent to deceive or mislead. Many fake news items are either largely or completely fictitious, and deliberately so. These stories imitate the look and style of real news articles, and they are published on sites designed to imitate established newspaper websites or political blogs, often with closely-related, similar or slightly misspelled domain names.

Melissa Zimdars, an associate professor of communication and media at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, compiled a list of websites that either purposely publish false information or are otherwise entirely unreliable. She tags the sites by category–false, misleading, unreliable, clickbait, satire, bias, hate, conspiracy theories, junk science, or sometimes a combination of several categories.

How Does Fake News Spread?

Most web publishers define their success by the amount of traffic their sites receive. They use this information to attract and bill advertisers based on the numbers of “clicks” or “hits” their site generates. Sometimes, the factual information or foundation of the article is not as important as the number of page views, because these can be used to generate more revenue from potential advertisers.

News sharing has become popular because people affirm their identities and affiliations by posting links to articles that reflect and support their own existing opinions and beliefs, and fake news stories are often strongly biased. Sometimes a story that was intended as satire circulates as factual information, or false information can originate when regular people who are misinformed post on social media sites. Web site owners can also pay a fee to have their site’s search results shown in top placement on the results page of different search engines.

Sharing fake news articles pushes them higher up in search result pages, causing others to come across them quickly and trust the content. This is supported by a study conducted at Northwestern University, where 102 college students went online to answer questions about topics relevant to them. How did the students assess the credibility of online content? When using a search engine, many students clicked on the first search result. They ignored the sponsoring organization and the article’s author, blindly trusting the search engine to put the most reliable results first.

Why Is Fake News Harmful?

Prior to the internet age, people relied on information in printed form–newspapers, magazines, journals, books, encyclopedias–or they watched the nightly television news. Doing any type of extensive research usually required a trip to the library to find the resources needed. The internet and social media have made it far easier for powerful entities to directly and quickly spread false or misleading information far and wide. One of the most troubling and dangerous aspects of fake news is the prevalence of private groups pushing their own agendas under the appearance of seemingly unbiased news.

An analysis by the digital media powerhouse BuzzFeed News found that top fake election news stories generated more total engagement on Facebook during the final three months of the 2016 presidential election campaign than reports from 19 major news outlets (including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News) combined.

The recent rise in fake news sites underscores the importance of teaching students independent research and critical thinking skills. It’s not enough to tell them to only use the school’s databases–they must learn how to evaluate the sources they find in the collective media sphere, including both print and digital sources. In its position statement on media literacy, the National Council for the Social Studies, an organization that supports social studies education in U.S. K-12 and higher education, argues that it’s important that students be able to “ask key questions, compare competing claims, assess credibility, and reflect on one’s own process of reasoning,” whether they are reading a printed book, a newspaper article or a Facebook post.

Are your students equipped with the information literacy skills to identify fake news? ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to learn information literacy skills. Free trials are available.

Fake News: Teaching Students to Evaluate Sources

In an era where students search for information online via search engines and social media, they need the ability to identify and distinguish reputable sources from deceptive sources. In other words, they need to be able to tell the difference between real and fake news. A November 2016 study from Stanford researchers has concluded that students are not prepared.

Our “digital natives” may be able to flit between Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to evaluating information that flows through social media channels, they are easily duped.--“Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning,” Stanford History Education Group

Source Evaluation Aid Available in ProQuest Research Companion

Source Evaluation Aid Available in ProQuest Research Companion

ProQuest Research Companion is here to help. Equip students with information literacy skills through self-paced learning modules, assessments, and tools such as the Source Evaluation Aid. The embedded video above is an example of the material available in the evaluating sources learning module.

ProQuest’s Guided Research products such as CultureGrams, eLibrary, and SIRS Issues Researcher offer authoritative content that is vetted and packaged for middle and high school students. Besides reliable information and tools, you can also find supplementary handouts to guide students step by step such as the SIRS Issues Researcher: Research Guide for the Critical Thinker.

Don’t have ProQuest Research Companion or other Guided Research products? Request a Free Trial!

Find Primary Sources in ProQuest’s Guided Research Resources

Educators need to prepare students with information literacy and learning skills for college and the global marketplace. Common Core State Standards address this need through an emphasis on students’ ability to read and understand informational text. Standards require students to learn how to analyze text, make inferences, cite evidence, interpret vocabulary, and determine authoritative sources.

As students learn how to analyze sources, primary sources are key tools to help them learn to ask questions, think critically, and draw conclusions based on evidence.

ProQuest’s suite of Guided Research resources is your solution to prepare students to think critically with a wealth of primary and secondary sources.

ProQuest Research Companion

 

Start with ProQuest Research Companion to access 80+ short videos, nine learning modules, and assessment quizzes to teach students everything they need to know to be information literate and ready to research. For a lesson on primary sources, use this short video on primary and secondary sources.


 CultureGrams

CultureGrams Interview

Interview transcript of Hawa from Djibouti.
Image via CultureGrams.

CultureGrams is a primary source product with editions (World, States, Kids, and Provinces) that offer profiles of countries, U.S. states, and Canadian provinces. CultureGrams editors recruit native or long-term residents of the target culture to serve as writers and/or reviewers for each report, ensuring all reports are first-hand accounts and therefore primary sources. Also see supplementary features that provide more primary source material through photos, videos, interviews, statistics, and recipes.


 eLibrary

platform shoes

Video clip from 1973 chronicles the fashion “craze” of the platform shoe
and warns of the shoe’s dangers to feet and legs.
Source: MPI Video via ProQuest eLibrary

Besides a treasure trove of secondary sources and editor-created Research Topics, eLibrary offers collections of primary sources. A History in Documents (Oxford University Press) present a mixture of textual and visual primary source documents. MPI Videos provide insights into topics as diverse as world affairs, fashion, sports, and the arts from various periods in the twentieth century. And the Getty Historical Image collection highlights hundreds of iconic images from the twentieth century.


SIRS Issues Researcher

Primary sources can be narrowed in the results list. Image via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher.

SIRS Issues Researcher is the premier source for background and analysis of nearly 350 Leading Issues. Analysis and background include primary sources. Start with the SIRS Common Core Guide: Understanding Primary Sources, the step-by-step activity guide to help students analyze primary sources. Every search result can be narrowed by primary sources to find historical documents, speeches, editorial cartoons, and more.


 SIRS Discoverer

editorial cartoons

In the News, a monthly editorial cartoon feature in Spotlight of the Month
Image via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer.

As an online reference source for elementary and middle school, SIRS Discoverer offers primary and secondary sources at a lower reading level than SIRS Issues Researcher, its sister product. Each document is hand-selected at an appropriate Lexile level for its target audience. Access historical primary source maps, graphs, and images in the graphics tab of any search. Find engaging editorial cartoons in the activities section, through search, and via the Spotlight of the Month.

Contact us for more information on how these Guided Research resources can fill your primary source needs or sign up for one of our free monthly webinars.

ProQuest Research Companion Is Nominated for TWO CODiE Awards!

ProQuest Research Companion has been nominated for two SIIA CODiE Awards under the categories of Best Reading/English/Language Arts Instructional Solution and Best Source for Reference or Education Resources.

The SIIA CODiE Awards, now in their twenty-ninth year, hold the distinction of being the industry’s only peer-reviewed awards program.

CODiE_2015_finalist_black

Judges with considerable industry expertise carefully evaluate each product using rigorous category-specific criteria. Winners of the respective categories will be announced at SIIA’s education technology conference in May and the information industry summit in June.

ProQuest is grateful for industry recognition of its flagship information literacy product. Another recent recognition was in the February 2015 edition of School Library Journal where ProQuest Research Companion was honored as as a Best Database by Mahnaz Dar, associate editor.

Research Companion was built to help students do more effective scholarly research and to support educators as they teach the core information literacy principles of finding, evaluating, and using information.

Check out the ProQuest Research Companion YouTube channel to see how this informational literacy product can benefit you!

School Library Journal Says Research Companion is “Must Have”

In the FeProQuest Research Companion Logobruary 2015 issue of School Library Journal, Mahnaz Dar,  an associate editor at the magazine, honored ProQuest Research Companion as a Best Database.  Dar characterized the product as a “must have” and went on to say that Research Companion should be a “staple of any high school library.”

ProQuest is grateful for industry recognition of its flagship information literacy product. Research Companion was built to help students do more effective scholarly research and to support educators as they teach the core information literacy principles of finding, evaluating, and using information.

For a complete and detailed demo of Research Companion, visit ProQuest’s YouTube channel.

ProQuest Research Companion Winner at ISTE 2014

On June 29-July 1, 2014, ed tech professionals, educators and administrators stormed Atlanta, GA, for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference. ProQuest was there in the middle of all the action in Hot lanta showcasing our newest product: ProQuest Research Companion. Our new product was not only welcomed but recognized!

The influential trade publication Tech & Learning named Research Companion Best of Show. The award was made on the basis of its “quality and effectiveness,” “ease of use,” and for its “creative use of technology.”

So what made ProQuest Research Companion stand out at ISTE?

Adam Blackwell

Product Manager Adam Blackwell at ISTE 2014
proudly displaying the Best of Show award. (Credit: ProQuest)

No, it wasn’t the suave British accent of its Product Manager, Adam Blackwell. Although, that didn’t hurt either!

ProQuest Research Companion shines because it was created directly based on feedback from you–the educator. You told us you needed help teaching students how to research, select sources, evaluate web sites, cite their work and in general be information literate. And you needed this in a way that could be flipped, mobile-ready, standards-aligned, personalized, and assessed.

We heard you and created 100 proprietary videos with assessment questions that guide users step by step through the research process and five interactive tools that automate important research tasks like evaluating sources by drawing on a huge powerhouse of data exclusive to ProQuest.

The buzz has started. Don’t take our word for it! Check out the feedback we’ve received from customers and users so far:

tweet

“we have a chapter in our book that covers a lot of the same material, but the kids seem to like the videos”

“really good examples and such that reinforce what I teach my seniors already”

“the interface is very clean and attractive”

“good to assign the videos for homework and use them for class discussion the next day”

“wow! It’s pretty snappy, very responsive and quick.”

“I’d be thrilled to integrate these videos into my online course. Thrilled. I can put all this stuff in writing, but they miss so much information when it’s presented almost solely through text.”

“I love this tutorial. It’s pretty much what I talk about in a classroom setting and would be perfect for online classes.”

“my immediate thought was this would be great for a parent!”

Try ProQuest Research Companion for yourself. Sign up for a free trial today!

2nd Annual FAME Unconference

As editors, we love to get out of the office and go to industry events! So two of us were super excited on June 26 to attend a free event hosted by the the Florida Association for Media in Education–the 2nd Annual FAME Unconference at Palm Beach Gardens High School, FL.

Collaboration

Dynamic discussion during FAME Unconference (Credit: Michelle Jarrett)

An unconference is a meeting that is informal and loosely structured so attendees can learn from one another on a peer-to-peer level through teaching, sharing and collaboration. This is an awesome way to learn new technologies and best practices and falls in line with FAME’s mission:

FAME advocates for every student in Florida to be involved in and have open access to a quality school library media program administered by a highly competent, certified library media specialist. FAME is a collaborative, responsive, dynamic network for Florida library media professionals.

The unconference started with us gathered as a group to shout out what we most wanted to discuss. Then we broke out into smaller groups for in-depth discussion and collaboration. Insights were recorded on poster boards and tweeted at #FAME14. No need for notes–just take a pic with your smart phone. This is our kind of note taking!

Attendees hailed from various regions of Florida and included those who oversaw elementary, middle and high school libraries. Regardless of differing locations, grade levels, and available budgets, we witnessed a group of professionals with one quality in common: a passion for their craft. They all love their jobs as the information leaders in their schools.

FAME Unconference

2nd Annual FAME Unconference: A Place for Connection and Collaboration
Created with PicMonkey. Credit: Christie Riegelhaupt and Michelle Jarrett.

Because of their passion and a vulnerable school budget climate, advocacy was the most important topic of the day. When there are budget cuts in school districts,  this group wanted to make sure that media specialist jobs are not cut or replaced with volunteers. As many in the group explained,  the only way to ensure job security is for education administrators and legislators to be fully informed of the essential role a media specialist plays in the school. Media specialists don’t just check out books and read stories to children. A media specialist offers valuable resources and support for the classroom and curriculum, teaches students how to critically evaluate online resources, aids in transforming students into lifelong learners, and so much more.

Advocacy Infographic

AASL’s Advocacy Infographic

ALA and AASL’s advocacy pages were recommended as excellent resources for media specialists to build awareness of their pivotal role in education.

Other topics discussed included eBooks, makerspaces, benchmarks, QR codes and success stories. A thread throughout each topic was a keen interest in acquiring the best resources for their school, and then promoting those resources so they are utilized and meet the needs of students. One example was a tip to use QR codes in card inserts in the stacks to promote eBooks. Another popular best practice was to give out necklaces where students can earn one charm per each book they read. Even in high schools, students wore their necklaces proudly.

The media specialists spent a hot summer day in South Florida and left with some hot tips they can take back to their media centers this fall. The students at their schools are very fortunate to have such dedicated educators working on their behalf!

Fear Blank Pages No More!

The New Year is here. If one of your resolutions is to make research easier, take a look at our newest product: ProQuest Research Companion.

pqrc

Credit: ProQuest

In the age of readily-available information, researchers often find themselves staring at a blank page. Many students say that the most difficult part of their research assignment is just getting started.

Likewise, librarians and educators often don’t have more than brief “one shot” sessions with students to teach them the effective research skills necessary to be successful in their academic research.

How could this logjam break free?

Let ProQuest Research Companion guide the way through practical tools and learning videos.

Learn more at the Product Research Companion product page.

Or better yet, try it for yourself with a free trial.