Fake News and Visual Literacy #CUE18

Fake news is not accidental reporting with a few mistakes, it is intentional and designed to look real. According to Dr. Lesley Farmer, of California State University at Long Beach, the motivation behind creating fake news is often to profit, gain influence, assert power, and sometimes to entertain.

As critical consumers and responsible contributors, we should be skilled in discerning validity and disseminating reliable information. Images, like all text, communicates a message. Hence, we are to "read" the visual and glean meaning grounded in evidence. However, we might not retain the objectivity to critically evaluate the message when strong emotions skew our perception. When a communication reinforces or challenges our core beliefs, it might blind us from objectively stepping back to ask questions such as, "What's the narrative? Who is communicating it, and why?"

California's ELA/ELD Framework explicitly draws attention to the broader topic of information literacy and discerning validity. "As students engage with texts, they learn to consider the following: Who is privileged? Who is marginalized? Who and what is missing? Who is the author? What is the author’s objective? What are the author’s perspectives and biases? Does the author adequately support claims?" This line of thinking is our social responsibility to practice, and moral imperative to teach. We are in the business of creating broadly literate individuals, prepared for college, career, and civic life.

This #CUE18 session, presented by Dr. Lesley Farmer, illuminated important concepts about visual literacy, and classroom / library implementation.  Furthermore, her curation of resources to help tackle this literacy are solid. Eureka! 
The bottom line is visual literacy includes the skills and knowledge to recognize fictional from non-fictional discourse, and communication with diverse partners. Spotting fake news and inquiring about alternate points of view, increases access to knowledge and democratic ideals to act as informed citizens.
  • What might the implications of focusing on visual literacy be on our work? 
  • What resonates with you regarding fake news or information literacy?
  • What possible resources or ideas might you add for developing visual literacy?


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