A lesson in research

Sometimes, you just get a lesson lobbed up to you.  Here’s one for everyone who has students use the internet as a resource for research.

That’s the case of this story over the weekend from the Toronto Star.

Are you smarter than a Toronto Star journalist?: Public Editor

In the article, there are 20 stories that the Star published that had errors in their creation.  

What a wonderful opportunity for a lesson in fact checking.  p.s. Don’t share the entire article with students because the answers are at the bottom.

However, the stories are interesting.  After all, we ask students to check with primary sources to verify information.  What it there’s a problem with the primary source?   What better primary source than a newspaper whose reason for existence is to provide the facts.

Now, the first one was dead simple for this western Ontario boy.

1. Little Tug Harbour is located on Lake Huron, near Tobermory, Ont. Right, Wrong, Double-check?

Anyone who has ever been to Tobermory know that there are lots of things that gain their name from the two Tub Harbours.

Thanks, Google Maps.

However, if you haven’t had the pleasure, how likely are you to take the original story for its face value?  After all, it’s from one of Canada’s biggest newspapers.

Who’s to say that Google is right?  Time for a double check.

Thanks, Bing Maps

This is definitely a worthy exercise to have students do their own fact checking.  Hopefully, the message to not just blindly accept everything that they read online as absolute fact, will be reinforced.

Kudos need to be given to the Toronto Star for being so transparent and, as such, providing such a great teaching/learning opportunity.

Some other examples can be found here “Sites that should make you go Hmmm“.

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