Monday, March 2, 2020
One of my colleagues sent me this interesting article about teaching elders how to verify a story. With An Election On The Horizon, Older Adults Get Help Spotting Fake News ran last week on NPR. It's a very cool idea. "At the Schweinhaut Senior Center in suburban Maryland, about a dozen seniors gather around iPads and laptops, investigating a suspicious meme ... The seniors are participating in a workshop sponsored by the nonprofit Senior Planet called "How to Spot Fake News." As instructed, they pull up a reputable fact-checking site like Snopes or FactCheck.org and, within a few minutes, identify the meme is peddling fake news."
Consider this from the article, which underscores why workshops such as these are so important: "[a] recent study suggests these classes could be increasingly important. Researchers at Princeton and New York universities found that Facebook users 65 and over posted seven times as many articles from fake news websites, compared with adults under 29."
It's important for everyone to remember that this is not just about political stories. Think of all those scam emails you get (won a lottery recently?). So, the project at this senior center "coaches participants about the difference between propaganda, deep fakes and sponsored content. [The instructor] runs through a checklist for evaluating information online: Who wrote the information? What's the source of a claim? Does the author have an agenda?"
I can see this having application to various scams that are perpetrated online. This could be a good community service project for our students, too.
Clark says her program, Senior Planet, which sponsors all kinds of tech classes for older adults at several locations across the country, has been trying to get digital literacy in front of more seniors. But in many ways, it's more challenging than it might be for school districts.