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    • Sam Wineberg, professor of higher ed at Stanford, did a fascinating experiment: he pitted fact checkers at news organizations against historians at major universities + students at Stanford to see who could distinguish legit news from fake. The fact checkers quickly crushed the other two.

      How? The fact checkers had a whole different approach that was less based on critical thinking and more on uncovering facts. The research team concluded more search skillz, less critical thinking. 😲

    • Very interesting indeed, and shows that "out of the box thinking" is the way getting best results. That most browsers nowadays incorporate a "Search" option in the right click context menu after selecting some text on any web page is also one of the features I love using, admittedly out of laziness initially. It now gets me full circle if I simply take the time to hop through several pages iterations, and most often discover amazing things I never thought of..

    • Interesting result, and not entirely surprising. Of course, one does have to apply critical thinking when deciding whether to trust the fact checker. Would you trust one on InfoWars? I certainly wouldn't.

      Hey, here's a thought: let's make fact checker a new profession like law and medicine, complete with a professional certification board to accredit (and discipline) practitioners. News organizations, political parties, marketers and others could display a fact-checked icon if (and only if) a professional has given the OK. False claims of certification could be prosecuted as fraud, and checkers could lose their license and even be sued for malpractice if they get sloppy or corrupt.

      What do you think? The main problem I see is how to get started--who forms the board and why should we trust them? We could look to the history of other certification bodies as a model, I suppose, but I suspect there is an inherent political aspect to the problem that will be difficult to resolve: in the immortal words of Stephen Colbert, reality has a liberal bias.

    • I’m not sure critical thinking is at fault here. I think there is a certain skill set to evaluating claims online just like there would be a skill of evaluating authenticity of a piece of art, but critical thinking is essential in applying either set of skills.

      Perhaps the danger is just in hubris, as the article hints. People assume their ability to navigate other areas grants them automatic expertise in the online arena as well.

      I also think there is a lack of awareness of how dishonest people can be online without reprisal. If people tend to look for certain things to verify if a website is legit, you’d better believe the people trying to dupe you have figured that out and imitated it. A website is not a peer-reviewed journal.

    • OK --Let me say at the beginning I teach history, and TBH I am not surprised -- one of the very early assignments I have my students do is to "research" some thing they think they know, and then to find out there is another "possibility" out there...

      I am trying to teach them the importance of research, sources, and yes common sense.

      Just cause it comes up early in a search doesn't make it so.

      I am going to share this article with my colleagues! Thanks for this

    • Great article and one I'll have the kids do in class. I only wish there was another link or extension to explain how to thoroughly vet a website or source. I need to help the kids learn how to evaluate sources. I need to improve my own skills as well. Do you know of any good sources for this?

    • Interesting assignment. Can you give a couple of quick examples. I'd like to try some version of this with my students. Grade 9 is the highest grade but some younger students should be able to do a version as well.

      If anyone has any similar articles I'd love to hear about them.

    • Most popular one is "Where did Rosa Parks sit on the bus when she got arrested?" Most (usually over 90%) say the front of the bus -- when they discover she was sitting at the back of the bus, and that the white person was already sitting down, they see the need to research more.

      The Southern Law Poverty Center has an amazing video on Rosa Parks called "Mighty Times" which I usually show after the assignment.

      This is for a freshman seminar so I think you could use this for Grade 9?

    • So I had my grade 9 students create a 60 word precis on the Fact Checker article. I even had some of my grade 7 students do the same. I'm hoping it sinks in for some of them and they start getting into the habit of searching outside a site to evaluate the site's merit. I'll keep on reminding them.

    • As far as journalists go, I think you'd be hard pressed to find many who are more skeptical and smarter than Kara Swisher. And yet even she let the Twitter rage machine undo her badly about the Maga hat-wearing teens the other day and had to apologize a day later.

    • Twitter is a bad platform for critical thinking because it doesn’t allow people to reflect on things or do a deep dive. I think it’s not good for politics. On a related but separate note - many journalists are NOT critical thinkers in regards to science. They are smart and aware of many tricks but aren’t aware of critical thinking rules or methods as learned by skeptics. Not all but many fall victim to these things.