Reading the Web
Website – For Teachers and Student – This website provides an easy to read facts sheet that includes current information such as population, geography, wildlife, flora and fauna and government. All content is easy to scan due to the use of subheadings and clear images. The accuracy of the content can be ensured as it references a number of government websites such as tourism Australia and the Australian bureau of statistics.
Website that is poorly written – About Australia – Although this website is easy to navigate the information presented is complex and long-winded if the intended audience is a stage 3 class. The reliability also must be questioned as there are no sources or author provided. The website does provide information such as population and facts about flora and fauna however students would need to sift through unnecessary content in order to locate the desired information.
Video – Geography Now! Australia
Although this video is longer than 3 minutes the information provided is accurate and presented in a manner that it is appealing to stage 3 students. When using this video as a classroom resource the teacher should select short sections of the video that focuses on key information such as cities, population and wildlife.
Developing your photography skills
The following images attempt to use the composition tips as listed in Pakarklis’s blog post. They also demonstrate that I still need more practice at taking great photographs with my iPhone.
This photograph of my daughter was taken before I had read the composition tips. I always loved it and didn’t know why (apart from the adorable model). Based on Pakarklis’ tips it is a good shot because it doesn’t place the subject in the centre of the shot. The gaze is also looking through the frame and her eyes are placed close to the top intersection of the gridlines.
This photo of the Education building shows the rule of thirds. This allows the photograph to have a point of focus. The eye is naturally drawn to the building.
This photo uses leading lines to lead our eyes up the row of flowers. Ideally the line would be perfectly vertical but I will require a bit more practice before perfecting the shot.
Social Media, News and critical literacy
ABC News – This reputable news website lists authors for each story it posts. Although they do not reference where the information provided has come from. There is some sensationalized media present on the site but American news is a highly competitive market. The pictures are used to draw viewers attention to particular articles and often the source of the photograph is provided. Although this website is not endorsed by the government (.gov) viewers can have some level of assurance that the informaiton provided is accurate and reliable.
Animal Conservation – This website does list an author however that does not make it reliable. The single author listed is a member of the Kelvinic University branch of the Wild Haggis Conservation Society. Due to the single author the information provided is based on personal opinion. Although there are convincing images on this website, a little deeper investigation and cross referencing shows that they are photo shopped. This website is an excellent example of how fake information can be presented in a convincing manner and may fool some primary students.
News – This satirical look at current events is based on fact but intended to take a lighter approach to delivering the news. The website claims it is “America’s finest news source”. Although this website is an enjoyable read it does not provide reliable information that can be used in a classroom setting. There is no author provided and it can be difficult to decipher what is fact and what is fiction for the purpose of a joke.
Nature and science news – This website is difficult to classify as real or fake news. Each article cites an author and many of the stories provide links to journal published articles. What this website lacks are objective news articles that remove personal opinion. Articles appear to be presenting the news but then show their personal opinion, such as an anti-vaccine agenda. Images used on this website are not effective except as a scare tactic to get people read the article. The reliability of the information is highly questionable and would not be appropriate for a primary classroom.
Teaching Critical Media Skills in the Classroom:
David Buckingham – international researcher and media commentator
In a world where “falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it” it is becoming increasingly important for students to be able to differentiate real and fake news. Children are accessing technology and using social media at younger ages and as a result may be unknowingly exposed to fake news before they are properly equipped to evaluate it’s validity. David Buckingham raises some key points within his article, particularly he highlights the importance of examining credibility and looking for bias from the author. Frank Baker provides a checklist of 11 useful criteria to evaluate the validity of online news. An excellent task for students would be to have them evaluate sites such as Animal Conservation (described above). Students can see how many of the 11 criteria are red flags for the site. As students gain a greater understanding of fake news they could undertake a persuasive writing task in which they create a fake news story. This activity would have to be heavily monitored to ensure topics were appropriate and fake news was not malicious in any way. In his article David Buckingham states that university students in the United States even have difficulty deciphering real and fake news. This telling result underpins the importance of educating students developing critical media literacy skills from a primary age.
Pakarklis, E. (2013). 11 composition tips for taking great photos with your iPhone. Retrieved February, 2016, from Parkalis photography
Salyer, D. (2015). Reading the Web. The Reading Teacher, 69(1), 35-39. 10.1002/trtr.1380 Accessed February 22, 2016 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/trtr.1380/abstract
Glass, I. (2015). 573: Status Update. This American Life. Retrieved November 27th, 2015, from http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/573/status-update?act=0
Schugar, H. R., Smith, C. A., & Schugar, J. T. (2013). Teaching with interactive picture e‐books in grades K–6. The Reading Teacher, 66(8), 615-624.
Accessed February 22, 2016 from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/teaching-interactive-picture-e-books-grades-k-6
Fair Dealing and Education – http://www.copyright.org.au/admin/cms-acc1/_images/169501865452392488546d3.pdf
Australian Copyright Council site for more information
Online video –
Leu, D. J. (2009) New Literacies of the Internet. Teaching Reading 3-5. Accessed July, 2009 from http://www.learner.org/workshops/teachreading35/session5/index.html
Nothing Beats the Real Thing website – resources for teaching about he media
Persuasive language- activities and assessment ideas. http://www.nothingbeatstherealthing.info/persuasive-language-online-resource
Creative Collaboration & Why Copyright Counts- This resource includes a plan for one discrete lesson on copyright, piracy and digital citizenship, with an option for a second lesson to allow students to apply ‘fair go’ principles of social justice to create and edit a short film.