Author:
Sandra Stroup
Subject:
Journalism, Reading Informational Text, U.S. History, World History, Cultural Geography, Political Science, Sociology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Assessment, Diagram/Illustration, Homework/Assignment, Lesson, Lesson Plan, Module, Unit of Study
Level:
Middle School
Tags:
Analyzing Quotes, Bias, Credibility, Digital Citizenship, Fact Checking, Fact-Checking, Fake News, Image Analysis, Information Verification, Media Literacy, Sourcing, Verification, fact-checking
License:
Creative Commons Attribution
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Downloadable Docs, Graphics/Photos, Text/HTML

Verifying Social Media Posts

Verifying Social Media Posts

Overview

 

Verifying social media posts is quickly becoming a necessary endeavor in everyday life, let alone in the world of education. Social media has moved beyond a digital world which connects with friends and family and has become a quick and easy way to access news, information, and human interest stories from around the world. As this state of media has become the "new normal," especially for our younger generations, we, educators, find ourselves charged with a new task of teaching our students how to interact with and safely consume digital information.

The following three modules are designed to be used as stand-alone activities or combined as one unit, in which the lessons can be taught in any order. "Who Said What?!" is a module focusing on author verification. "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words'' is a module devoted to image verification. "Getting the Facts Straight" is a module designed to dive into information verification. Lastly, there are assessment suggestions to be utilized after completing all three modules.

Who said What?!

Who Said What?!

 A Practice in Author Verification

 

We have all seen, and most likely have posted, an inspirational quote that is fitting for the poster’s current mood, attitude, outlook on life, or the issues of the day. A common practice is to simply Google a portion of a quote, click on images, and find one that is most appealing. But do we always verify that the person the quote is attributed to is correct, or that the quote itself is accurate, or even that the quote means what we think it means within the broader context of when it was stated?

Most likely, the answer is no. This activity is meant to open up conversations around the authenticity, accuracy, and context of reposted quotes on social media. 

 

OPENER:

  • Display this image (provided as a jpg file) and ask students if the statement is authentic. Ask them to explain how they know it is or isn’t authentic, accurate, attributed properly, etc. Use this misattributed quote to spur conversation around if and how students determine elements of authenticity. 

 

 

This quote came from John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961.

  • SCAFFOLD: 
    • Take the first paragraph of  JFK's Inaugural Address and have students think-pair-share what do they know about the context in which this statement was made.  Annotate the paragraph together (e.g., think aloud) and use an online resource such as the JFK library to explain. 
  • EXTENSION: 


 

  • Display this image (provided as a jpg file) and ask students the same questions as before.

 

This quote is partially accurate and went viral on social media causing quite a controversy. 

 


 

I DO:

  • Model for your students how to verify quotes for accuracy, correct attribution, and context. This works best if you can project your computer screen for students to watch as you sift the internet for information (use a think aloud).

  • Choosing a quote:

    • Have students offer suggestions for a random quote.

    • Use a site like Brainy Quote’s Quote of the Day to provide a random quote.

    • Choose a quote based on your current class content so that it is relevant to the work your students are already doing.

  • Google your chosen quote and begin the work of searching for the original publication in which the quote was given. This can be a messy and drawn-out process, but one that allows students to see how you determine where, and how, to search for the truth. 


 

WE DO:

  • Have students work in groups to verify quotes using similar tactics that you modeled. 

    • Groups can select their own quote to investigate.

    • You could also preselect quotes if you want students to work on a particular topic. 

    • For older students you could intentionally give them quotes that are misattributed, but seem legitimate, allowing them to show how deeply they must dig for the truth.

  • Provide the Who Said What Worksheet for students to fill out as they work through the verification process.

  • Have the groups share out how they determined the authenticity of their group’s quote.

  • EXTENSION:

    • For younger students, give all the groups the same quote to verify and make it a race to see who can accurately verify the quote first.  Then chart their reponses and analyze the processes that were successful.

    • For older students, have them challenge other groups by finding challenging quotes to verify.  Include some that are accurate and others that are specious.


 

YOU DO:

  • Have students work independently, using the Who Said What Worksheet, to verify a quote using the tactics modeled and practiced. 

    • For younger students, preselect a quote that allows for an easier/simpler path to verification.

    • For older students, have them open their own social media accounts and choose a recently posted quote to verify.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A Practice in Image Verification

 

In today’s world, people want to take in information faster than ever before. As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. So what better way to get information out quickly and ensure it is consumed than to post a captivating, emotion-inducing image with a short caption. That almost guarantees that people will read, comment, and share the post thus furthering your message. People, companies, governments, and the media are using images to catch our eye, hold our attention, and share their messages in a fast, convenient, and powerful way. We often assume the pictures are undoctored and shown accurately portraying the actual  situation. However, more and more images are being reused, mistitled, altered, and used to mislead. This activity is meant to open up conversation around the authenticity, accuracy, and context of images and provide tools to determine an image's veracity.

 

OPENER:

  • Give students the Social Media Image Quiz (provided as a jpeg file) and have them answer the questions for each image. The quiz can be done individually or as a whole class. Two “posts” and questions have been provided so one may be used as a model for younger students. Questions can also be altered to fit individual students’ needs. 

 

 

  1. Do you think this post is authentic? What makes you think that?

  2. Does this post make you think or feel a certain way? What does it make you feel? Do you think the creator wants you to feel that way?

  3. Why do you think it was posted?

  4. Would somebody else have a different opinion about this post?

 

 

  1. Do you think this post is authentic? What makes you think that?

  2. Does this post make you think or feel a certain way? What does it make you feel? Do you think the creator wants you to feel that way?

  3. Why do you think it was posted?

  4. What type of person or organization may have published this post?

 

  • Go over images and questions as a class and share your findings and answers to the questions. Explain that these “posts” were created using random pictures and were designed to sway opinions on controversial topics such as protests and diseases. Discuss what the students looked for to determine accuracy and authenticity and whether or not these images produced an intended effect.

 

I DO:

  • Model for your students how to verify images for accuracy, correct attribution, and context. This works best if you can project your computer screen for students to watch as you sift through the internet for information. 

  • There are two example images included below you can use (provided as jpeg files). Both can be used as an example or one can be used for the “We Do” activity below. 

 

 

  • This is an image of medical tents assembled at the "Emergency" entrance of Kiang Wu Hospital, Macau, China. The post claims that it is at the Sanford South University Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota. Some aspects to point out would be the language on the signage on the tent and the building, the tropical foliage in the background, and the vehicle parked in the background. None of those elements would normally be found in North Dakota.

  • You can also look up images of the actual Sanford South University Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota and see that it looks nothing like the image. 

  • Look up the hashtags as well to check for credibility

 


 

  • This image was taken in the Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia. The post claims that it is the rainforest in Brazil, and it was posted by Marcus Andrews, the Environmental Minister of Brazil. Some aspects to point out may include the type of trees, the dry soil on the ground, the title, and the name of the minister, the website and hashtag. 

  • You can also research the quote to check if it was stated by Marcus Andrews. 

 

WE DO:

  • Have students work in groups to verify images using similar tactics that you have modeled. 

    • Groups can select their own image to investigate.

    • You could also preselect images if you want students to work on a particular topic. 

    • For older students, you could intentionally giving them images that are misattributed or misrepresented, but seem legitimate, (along with some creditble ones) allowing them to show how deeply they must dig for the truth.

  • Provide the Picture Verification Worksheet for students to fill out as they work through the verification process.

  • Have the groups share how they determined the authenticity of their group’s image in a brainstorming sessions using chart paper to catalog their methods.

  • EXTENSION:

    • For younger students, give all the groups the same image to verify and make it a race to see who can accurately verify the image first. (Again, use chart paper to note the processes that work well.)

    • For older students, have them challenge other groups by finding challenging images to verify. 

 

YOU DO:

  • Have students work independently, using the Picture Verification Worksheet, to verify an image using the tactics modeled and practiced. 

    • For younger students, preselect an image that allows for an easier/simpler path to verification.

    • For older students, have them open their own social media accounts and choose a recently posted image to verify. 

Getting the Facts Straight

 

Getting the Facts Straight

A Practice in Information Verification

 

We are living in the information age where statistics and data are available with the click of button, giving most everyone the capability of being a “fact checker.” But do we actually take the time to search out and verify the data being promoted, or do we accept it without much checking? Should we trust information just because it is accompanied by numbers and statistics, or  should we seek to find the original source to see the data in its entirety in order to understand it within its context? This student activity is designed to begin inquiries into data verification, triangulaition, and analysis of data for verification. 

 

OPENER:

  • Display this image (provided as a jpg file) and ask students for their initial “Facebook” reaction (Like, Love, Wow, etc.). Based on their responses, begin a conversation as to why they reacted that way. This should prompt questions/comments around believability, accuracy of statistics, and how to verify information.

 

 

I DO:

  • Model for your students how to verify the information in the above post for accuracy, and context. This works best if you can project your computer screen for students to watch as you sift the internet for information. Using the U.S. Census Data for Educational Attainment, you can begin the work of considering the claim made in the post.

  • The claim is not entirely false, but does take some liberties with the interpretation of data and assumptions of cause and effect.


 

WE DO:

  • Display this image (provided as a jpg file) 

  • Direct students to the OSPI website and show them how to search for this data. 

  • Have students work in groups to verify data using similar tactics you modeled.

  • Provide the Getting the Facts Straight Worksheet for students to fill out as they work through the verification process.

  • Have the groups share out how they determined the authenticity of their group’s data.

  • EXTENSION: 

    • Groups can select their own post with data to investigate.

    • You could also preselect a post if you want students to work on a particular topic. 

    • For older students, you could intentionally mislead them by creating a “fake” post, giving them data that is correct, but is written in a misleading way, allowing them to illustrate deep analysis for the truth. This website is a helpful resource in creating “fake” social media posts. (https://zeoob.com/)

  • ADDITIONAL OPTIONS:

    • For younger students, give all the groups the same data post to verify and make it a race to see who can accurately verify the data first. Chart the successful processes as for future research.

    • For older students, have them challenge other groups by finding challenging data to verify. 

 

YOU DO:

  • Have students work independently, using the Getting the Facts Straight Worksheet, to verify data using the tactics modeled and practiced. 

    • For younger students, use this pre-made post below (provided as a jpg file), preselect a current real social media post, or create a post that allows for an easier/simpler path to verification. This website is a helpful resource in creating “fake” social media posts. (https://zeoob.com/)

      • This post uses the same data source as the “We Do” activity which could make it easier for younger students to navigate. OSPI website

    • For older students, have them open their own social media accounts and choose a recent post with data in it to verify. 

 

** These activities were intentionally created without a focus on the authorship of the posts as the purpose is to focus on data verification. However, if this module is taught last in the series, you could create posts that incorporate the need for author and/or image verification as well.

Assessment Suggestions

Assessment Suggestions

 

After completing all three modules, the following are a few assessment suggestions that can be used as a summative assessment to gage individual understanding and skill development regarding social media verification, or used as group or class projects. 

 

  • Create a social media post using https://zeoob.com/ and have students complete the Social Media Verification Worksheet.

    • The post can incorporate all three types of verification (author, image, and information), or can focus on whichever combination works best for your class of students.

    • The post can be created using content relevant to your specific course and/or learning unit.

    • The post can be created in a variety of social media platforms (Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram). Choose the platform(s) that your students most connect with.

  • Find a current real social media post and have students complete the Social Media Posts Verification Worksheet.

    • Choose a post that incorporates the elements of verification you want students to focus on. 

    • Author verification: Choose a post by a well known public figure (local/state/national government officials, celebrities, athletes, reporters etc.).

    • Image verification: Choose a post that includes a detailed image with a description/caption.

    • Information verification: Choose a post that includes specific data/statistics that can potentially be verified. 

    • *Tip - Social media pages for news outlets are the most likely to have recent posts that incorporate all three elements (post by a public figure, with a meaningful image, along with data).

  • Have students/student groups use  https://zeoob.com/ to create their own “fake” posts with information to be verified by other students/groups.

    • Students can create posts based on a particular topic relevant to your current learning unit or a current event.

    • Students can incorporate both real and fake data, or intentionally misinterpret the data to make it challenging for other students to verify.

    • They can use their own images to challenge their classmates to accurately verify the location. 

    • *Note - This process of having students create “fake” posts should also open their eyes to how easy it is to mislead people through social media, both intentionally and unintentionally.