Real Strategies to Address Fake News

By: Kristin Fontichiaro & Angie Oehrli

We are living in the era of data, leaving little bread crumbs throughout our lives that tell businesses, cloud computing servers, social networks more about us than we realize. How can we help them understand the ways in which data is being generated and used every day so they can be wise and engaged consumers and citizens?

Those are the kinds of questions that have been pinging around our team as we plan our second 4T Virtual Conference on Data Literacy, being held July 20 – 21, 2017. This free conference, from 12pm – 5pm Eastern each day, features eight live sessions designed to inform high school librarians and classroom teachers (though all are welcome!) about current data practices “in the wild” so that they become familiar with big issues and can begin thinking about how they engage students with them at school. For those who cannot join us live, we encourage you to register so you’ll have easy access to the archived recordings.

While last year’s conference focused on the nuts and bolts of reading and writing with data, this year’s conference focuses on the impact of Big Data, the citizen science movement that allows students to make a prosocial contribution to big data sets, personal data management, and ethical data use. One session focuses on the data tools at DataBasic, which helps beginning data researchers begin to make sense of datasets. Another focuses on Social Explorer, which helps students understand history in a new way by mapping and comparing Census data over time. Another session reminds of us of where and when data we might not even see gets attached to our online browsing behavior, photographs, and more. Throughout the two days, our focus is avoid lecturing and instead to open up dialogues between librarians and educators to see how these critical life skills might be inserted into the high school curriculum.

This conference is free thanks to funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services RE-05-15-0021-15.

As we work with folks in the field, we see a need for big ideas to be brought to light. For example, check out our poster from the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference, where we take data literacy concepts and apply them to our “fake news” toolkit.

To sneak a peek at the other project deliverables, including the forthcoming book Creating Data Literate Students, visit Data Literacy or email us at contact.data.literacy@umich.edu.

Hope to see you online soon!

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