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Fake News with X Ray Goggles

Understanding how the web is built, and that it is built by people is a vital part of digital literacy. The truth is something we need to find, not blindly believe from the first website in the search results.

The Idea

The idea of this activity is to help students understand the nature of news and information on the internet by presenting them with subtly different versions of web pages they may already know. As well as a good fun way to start to topic (Vikings Invade Northampton!) it can lead to discussion about how to cross-check information, a different kind of writing task where students rewrite popular websites and create highly credible stories of their own, or simply create engaging material to put old events into a modern context.

The original article: the class know they came third in the Winter Cup - they were there.

The doctored article, now the school walked away as winners.

The Tool

Mozilla X Ray Goggles is a very simple tool that allows the user to remix a web page. They present it as part of the Foundation's work on digital literacy and creatively remixing the web (and include some lesson materials).

At the website you bookmark the X Ray Goggles tool.



Once you've added it to your browser you can activate X Ray Goggles at any time on (theoretically) any website. Suddenly you can click on text to change it, click on images to change them. Having made your "alternative reality page" you could screenshot it to use the image in lessons, or simply have the edited page open in your browser at the start of the lesson.

How

Either in advance of the lesson, or during it, call up the web page and activate your X Ray Goggles  (it would be useful to follow that up by demonstrating changing the web page, even if the class don't then do it themselves).

Click on text and then start to edit the page.

Other ideas for using

This really lends itself to a writing activity (creative, reporting, persuasive all come to mind).

  • Perhaps students will change the adverts on a popular website to ones for products and copy text of their own.
  • News is a rich source of writing stimulus - perhaps redrafting their story onto several websites, and each time adjusting the style and tone of the piece to fit.
  • Creating "fake news" to run alongside another project or topic.


To find this and other teaching ideas and top tips, visit tips.dret.cloud

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