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Internet News

I was just reading an article online about the recent uncovering of over 2 dozen spies in Iran.  I don’t know what saddens me more, how the people are surely to be executed, or how unimportant the CIA makes it sound.  I don’t read the physical news paper.  The nature of my news intake is logging onto yahoo and if something sparks my interest in the news clicker, I’ll read it.  I think yahoo has a tracker of what news articles I click on because most of them tend to revolve around:A- international news, or B-the stupid things our elected politicians or GOP candidates say (sorry, I’m a die-hard liberal).  There are soooo many ways to get the news over the internet.  You’ve got the big ones, like the New York Times, USA today, and the Washington Post.  And then you’ve got smaller local papers like the D & C.  Basically the access to cutting info is endless.  I think its great that there is access to all this free information.  But not all of it is good. 

Before we get to that point, let’s talk about how this can be used in class.  How many high schoolers do you think read the paper?  I know I didn’t when I was in school.  If I did, it was about the Sabres.  Let’s be honest, whether Roy has a good game or not has a huge impact on my life, and subsequently, overall happiness.  But I wasn’t much of a global citizen or even a local participant.  I think this is a great opportunity to turn that around though.  There are many benefits to letting kids look at the news online:

1- It’s technology.  This appeals to a lot of students.  Students are really good at scanning websites for the essential information so they would be good at reading the articles quickly

2-They get to choose what they are reading.  They can let their interests guide them as they acquire new knowledge.

3-Students will become more aware of the things that are affecting them and hopefully become a more involved member. 

What are some negatives?

1-If you let kids read what they want to, they may just stick to one subject like sports and ignore other important issues.

2-The advertisements can be distracting.

3-They will run across biases and not necessarily know it. 

These are just a few of the +/-‘s of internet news but it still can be useful.  But before we set kids loose and have them read anything they want, for it to be successful parameters need to be set.  1, there should a topic or set of topics for the students to read about.  This way the boys don’t go straight to ESPN and the girls to the latest hollywood headlines (just generalizing, don’t worry).  Also, you need to teach students to read more than one source on a topic so they get more than one viewpoint.  Students should be given a direction or an assignment for reading the news so that they are successful.  This can be a very successful project if the students are given direction through the process.


3 responses to “Internet News

  1. sodonne7

    Michael, you bring up many salient points for teaching students to read news effectively. It’s important for kids to know that when they’re approaching a news story, there are going to be biases and opinions (no matter how much the author strives to keep it out), but it’s an excellent opportunity to help students learn how to distinguish between fact and opinion. They can then use those facts to support and form their own opinions.

  2. Tricia

    I’ve been noticing in middle school, that most social studies teachers require students to bring in a current event usually on a weekly basis. The major difference I see from when I went to school is they never actually bring in the newspaper. The kids almost exclusively use the internet to get their current events. As you suggest, I think as teachers (and parents) we need to really help kids to understand how to discern what is a good source and what isn’t (also, what is fact and what is oppinion).

  3. Stephen Ransom ⋅

    Mike, two things that you state I think are really important. One is student CHOICE. The other is setting parameters or structure for a meaningful learning experience. We also need to be up front with our students in discussing the +/- of navigating and consuming information… and equip them to be effective at doing so. This is one of the most important roles that we have in the education of our students to prepare them to be informed, empowered, and active citizens.

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