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May 11, 2011 / Ben Chun

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

With yesterday’s Coal Cares campaign, the post-bin Laden quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. last week, and last month’s GE Tax Refund Donation announcement, it’s time for a serious media literacy conversation with your students. I love how just putting these three links in the same paragraph gives a sense of the range of critical thought we’d like our students to have.

This was an in-class discussion for my 10th grade last week, followed up by on online class forum discussion. I like doing both verbal and written discussions on a topic, because each one has benefits. Here are some student written responses:

The readers first started thinking that the quotes are real and will lead them into thinking the second half of the quote. Therefore, I think it is better to only believe half of facts passing around the internet world.

Presumably only the true half! Glad we got that solved. The next student is quite practical about things:

It is not good to put false information in the internet because what if some one was doing a report then they see your false information they can get a bad grade.

How considerate of one’s fellow students. The tree octopus was not mentioned in the verbal discussion, but somehow they knew about it:

Everyone need to check any information that they get from the internet. For example, the tree octopus was a lie but many people thought there was a tree octopus.

There were also some really insightful responses:

I think it is clever that a person would put someone famous on the quote and would gives the quote more credibility because the person is a “big” person in society and the quote happens to be relevant to the recent occurings in the world.

And some troubling ones:

The problem with the internet is, it can always be edited, such as wikipedia, and, most of the time, the sources are not always accurate, or sometimes could even be trolls. It would be much preferred if someone had an encyclopedia, which were popular before the internet, because everything in an encyclopedia was sure to be correct.

That one warranted a response in the online forum. The assignment I gave my class has a couple of followup links on the MLK issue. Anyone else teaching about this?

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