SIFTing the news

I’ll admit I have found myself a tad… envious of those of you who find yourselves in high demand in this shift to remote learning. We have had a few teachers doing research work, and students are still coming for (Zoom) research appointments, but our (new) chat reference has been *crickets*, and it has been harder to collaborate than when I could chat with someone in the dining hall or on the way to assembly. 

I also miss seeing students! We’ve had some luck with virtual programs (including a group that is really, really into virtual bingo). But it is, as you all know, just not the same.

One group I have seen more of, however, is parents. Back in the Before Times I had been talking with our Director of Parent Programming and our Parent Association about doing a news literacy workshop for parents. With the US Presidential election on the horizon there seemed to be a lot of parent interest in learning how to be savvier news consumers – and the coronavirus pandemic has only upped the stakes. So when I was asked if I wanted to try presenting in our new online lives, I jumped at the chance.

I typically prefer to do things like this in a workshop-style, with people having the chance to follow along and try strategies as I demonstrate them. However, given that I couldn’t guarantee that people would have two devices at the fingertips (one to watch me on and one to work on) I decided on doing a presentation rather than a workshop. I’m also new to teaching on Zoom – and parents are new to learning on Zoom – so simplicity seemed ideal.

I used the materials from the Check, Please! Starter Course as my inspiration and my foundation and built a LibGuide to walk folks through the SIFT process: Stop, Investigate the Source, Find Trusted Coverage, and Trace Claims and Quotes. I love the SIFT model for its simplicity and its flexibility. There is room for nuance and complexity around all four moves, but they are also easy for a novice to understand and work with – and they’re adaptable to multiple kinds of sources and different kinds of (intentional and unintentional) misinformation.

I presented it to a group of parents last Wednesday. I still don’t love presenting to a group of people on mute, but luckily one of my colleagues is also a current parent and I could see her smiling and nodding in all the right places. Getting that little bit of visual affirmation certainly helped!

This was a great way to connect with the parent community to share the value of the library and our curriculum – and a good way to make my program visible when we’re all socially distant. I”m hoping to expand on it when we can meet face-to-face again!

3 thoughts on “SIFTing the news

  1. I love the idea of the SIFT process. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure the parents, students, and teachers you are connecting with truly appreciate it.

  2. Eartiler this year I taught SIFT to our 9th grade, and I just taught it last week to our whole 10th grade (in 9 sections!). We used the Fakeout game and played it via Zoom. I would love to teach it to parents.. That is a great idea. I told the kids they could play the games again with their parents if they are looking for something to do. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for sharing this great idea!!! We started launching SIFT with students in the weeks just before we had to go remote. Unlike everything we’ve tried before, kids found SIFT easy to grasp, immediately saw it as very relevant, and took to it very quickly. In, what is a bit of a miracle, there was little to no eye rolling and I even got applause at the conclusion of a science class! Hahaha!!! Mike Caulfield [ @Holden ] recently shared this SIFT graphic which I loved… https://twitter.com/holden/status/1252965209410433030

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