Reviews of Mike Caulfield’s Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers:
“Caulfield has distilled this approach into what he calls “Four moves and a habit,” in a free online textbook that he has published. It’s aimed at college students, but frankly it’s relevant to everyone.”
“The book itself is really, really practical, and I will admit (sheepishly) that I’ve learned a lot from it already.”
“The internet doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but it should—to give users the skills to separate truth from falsehood so they can distinguish between propaganda and the indisputable and confirmable. And colleges should be the place leading students through this reference book.
That’s the argument of Michael Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver, and it isn’t just some “hot take” designed to be provocative. He actually wrote the manual. And he has already convinced more than a dozen colleges to adopt it (and more than 100 college libraries to prominently link to it). Recently, he’s started research in an effort to prove that it works (and can help preserve American democracy).”
“Even experienced researchers can find it difficult to sort through the fury and magnitude of contradictions available on the internet. Some of the “facts” — or their interpretations– propagated through social media get even careful readers so riled, objective thinking is momentarily overruled by the enticement of the retweet button.
“But, I have good news: there is a valuable tool for avoiding such messy situations by applying disciplined research techniques: author Michael Arthur Caulfield has released an excellent resource for student (or even more practiced) researchers called Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers.”
“Michael Caulfield has released a new eBook (127 page PDF) on web literacy for students who are fact-checkers. There’s some really useful and relatively novel content here: “how to use date filters to find the source of viral content, how to assess the reputation of a scientific journal in less than five seconds, and how to see if a tweet is really from the famous person… how to find pages that have been deleted, figure out who paid for the web site you’re looking at…” and a lot more. These are things I do on a daily basis to make sure I don’t pass along junk in this newsletter. I’m glad Caulfield has rolled these techniques up into a single document and explained them for everyone.”
Knowledge Quest (Journal of the American Association of School Librarians)
“In the middle of this thinking, I was delightfully and wonderfully pleased to receive a serendipitous email from my colleague, Nathan Libecap (Casa Grande High School) with the subject line: “AWESOME.” He sent a single link to an e-book titled Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers by Michael Caulfield of Washington State University in Vancouver, Washington…[Mike] too felt that the roads we’ve been taking to help students understand their information was much longer than it needed to be. He covers a wide variety of strategies and includes excellent activities that can be added to classroom use–and they are incredibly fun to do. The ideas made such good sense that I fiddled around with them and I created a little graphic that I’ve posted in the library and plan on using with my next library and information resources class. “
Literacy Daily (Blog of the International Literacy Association)
“In school contexts, educators will often provide students with tools like the WWWDOT Framework or the CRAAP test to aid them in their evaluation of web texts. However, these academic processes do not always transfer to informal learning contexts. Additionally, as Mike Caulfield, the inaugural civic fellow for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ American Democracy Project Digital Polarization Initiative, points out, research from the Stanford History Education Group suggests that applying these frameworks may not work as well as desired….
Given the negative consequences resulting from a poorly informed citizenry, we need alternative approaches that can help expedite the fact-checking process. Thankfully, Caulfield offers some practices to help mitigate these challenges…”
“A few weeks ago when I shared a link to Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers in a Facebook post, I wrote something along the lines of “this is *not* just for students. Everyone can read.” During our chat, Caulfield shared that the original title actually was “Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers and Other People Concerned About Truth.”
I laughed at this extended title during our conversation, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that even in its snark, it gets to the heart of the goal of this project: that is, although teachers and students will find this material valuable, all social media users have a certain accountability within these spaces. At times, I believe our sense of accountability is lost as we are directed to view our online content as “ours” and affecting only ourselves (our profile, our likes, our content, our opinion, etc.). Positioning this book as for “people concerned about the truth” frames the project of fact-checking as a collective one: for and by “the people.”
From a course syllabus at University of Alaska Fairbanks:
For this activity you will read and annotate (and otherwise engage with) Mike Caulfield’s free online book Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers. I’ve added this book to the course because “fake news” is a critical issue and I think Mike is making an important point about the problems with traditional approaches to evaluating news…and instead of carping, he proposes a simpler and, I think, profound alternative.