7c. Critically Examine Online Media

Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions.

ISTE Standards for coaches 2019

One of the things that I have come to realize through my study of the ISTE Standards for Coaches is how everything comes back to modeling the behavior we expect from others. In thinking back to my work around indicator 7c I realize that while I have moved the needle forward in my own work and learning there is still more to accomplish. I have come to understand that a large portion of this work takes a growth mindset or believing that educators and students can do it along with modeling the process. One of my blog posts that highlights this need for growth mindset and modeling is, Curating Learning for Teacher and Students. In this blog post I talk about the need to model, create space, allow self-reflection and feedback in order to explicitly support educators. when modeling these behaviors it allows educators to shift their thinking around what is possible. This makes it easier and more likely for myself, other coaches and educators to build intentional opportunities for critically examining online resources and media. One of my favorite quotes around this need for intentionally teaching the art of curation comes from John Spencer.

“we live in a world of instant information, where ideas go viral without much thought regarding accuracy and validity. It’s a place where content is cheap. Cheap to make. Cheap to share. Cheap to consume. The traditional gatekeepers are gone, which is great for students. They can create and share their work in ways that were previously unimaginable. But there’s a cost. The best stuff doesn’t always rise to the top and, if we’re not careful, we mistake the speed of consumption for the depth of knowledge. This is why we need students to learn the art of curation.”

– John Spencer, Getting Started with Content Curation in the Classroom

I am still working on my own knowledge around the topics of media literacy and how to know if a source is credible. As I continue to learn I am constantly looking for my own sources of information. One place that I tend to lean on is Common Sense Media and especially the toolkits that they have around digital citizenship. This is a website that I go to often especially when I am looking for lessons that I might be able to use with other educators and students. Through my own learning I am becoming better adapt at not just believing everything that I read online but instead I can have conversations with others around why a news story might be misleading, how to determine if there is biasness in an article, and where I might go for more information if I still have questions. One resource that I was just introduced to is a website called infodemic.blog. While this website was created in response to all the misleading information that was coming out at the start of the pandemic it has continued to share resources and information around how to determine if information is credible. I really appreciate the acronym they use of S.I.F.T which stands for Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, and Trace the claims, quotes and media to the original source. This is something that I am planning on sharing with teachers and other facilitators in my district. I appreciate how relevant the resource is too and therefore I think it is something that students would really pay attention to because they can see how it connects to their own lived experiences. I also started following them on twitter which has some great examples of determining credibility using real world examples.

One of the tweets by @infodemicblog demonstrating the importance of S.I.F.T.

Next Steps

I am continually looking for ways to embed this into professional learning for educators. The more I can model how to critically examine online resources and look for underlying assumptions as the indicator says the more likely it is educators will start to embed it in there teaching. Creating space for this and allowing educators to ask questions is a must. I would love to have an opportunity to work with educators in my district providing time and space for us to go through some of the lessons from Common Sense Media’s digital citizenship curriculum as if we are students. Then discuss what we learned and how we might integrate this into our classrooms. I am committed to continuing to look for ways to support educators and students in this work so that we can all be better equipped for curating our own knowledge.


Digital Citizenship Curriculum. (2018, July 20). Common Sense Education. https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship/curriculum

Digital Citizenship Toolkits. (2020, October 16). Common Sense Education. https://www.commonsense.org/education/toolkits

how to fact-check an infodemic. [@infodemicblog]. (2020, March 18). Did F. Scott Fitzgerald complain that Hemingway was not a hand washer during the 1918 pandemic? Nope, this is from a humor site. Here it is all at once, a bit later tonight I’ll walk through the steps one by one. [Tweet; gif image]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/infodemicblog/status/1240316384740962304

ISTE Standards for Coaches (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches

Spencer, J. (2017, November 18). Getting Started with Content Curation in the Classroom. John Spencerhttp://www.spencerauthor.com/content-curation/