I admit it. I’m a Facebook junkie. I only have about 95 friends but am in no less than 5 groups, have 3 pages, have the event calendar of a social diva, and read the news dropped in my newsfeed like its manna from heaven. I can usually tell the fake stuff from the real. I try to only share the real stuff. That’s getting harder as Facebook is changing it’s algorithm AGAIN to try to filter out the fake news.
I’m all for this on Facebook’s part, as, unfortunately, they have been used to disseminate some really questionable truths. Anyone can blog, creating a webpage that looks damned real and pretend to be a news source now, even me. (never ever take what I say at face value, I get things wrong all the time, seriously) And although I know students don’t really get into Facebook much anymore (“oh, that’s where my mother hangs out”), ANY social media platform a student can access can have material that is questionable on it. The big push now in education is to teach the kids what’s real and what’s not out there.
In the classroom, we have access to news sources like Newsela and TweenTribune to help keep what we expose our students to safe and honest, but sometimes, we need to get some real stuff to them, some “up the minute”, “happened last night”, “let’s discuss this” reading material to them. How do we do that with all the trash out there? Curation is the answer. I curate with Flipboard.
For older students (middle/high/college) who need to learn how to determine the accuracy and credibility of a news source, using Flipboard as a curation device is perfect. Their vetting process provides credible news sources, which, if so moved, you can compare to sources that just might not be so honest in their reporting of what they’ve determined is “news”. (My favorite “fake” site is http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html). If you’re working on a project and want students to check out various subtopics in a genre, put them all in one place. If it’s just a reading day, where you want them to learn something new and share what they’ve learned with others, create a magazine of dozens of articles and let them choose what they want to learn and share. (oh that Bloom’s Taxonomy love!)
Flipboard is available online and in an app. You, as the teacher, can curate the reading material you want students to access. Or, you can search for a particular topic, and curate all the chosen articles you like into one magazine. The various categories make it possible to have different academic subjects all in one space, so consider, if you teach departmentally, collaborating with other teachers on one board for all the students in a particular grade or if in a compartmentalized classroom, everything in one place for each topic.
Flipboard is free, however, they don’t control the advertisements on individual articles. Also, every now and again, you’ll search a topic and get something a bit “out there”. So curate carefully. Here are a couple of videos on creating a Flipboard magazine and their vetting process (no sound, sorry).