Being a good digital citizen means understanding and thinking critically about the information you read online. With the rise of "fake news" and other kinds of inaccurate and exaggerated information (e.g. clickbait, intentionally misleading content, incorrect content, satire, etc), it is more important than ever to be a discerning reader.
One way to teach this is to have your students contribute an article to Wikipedia, the crowd-sourced online encyclopedia. Wikipedia imposes strict standards on source materials, forcing editors to thoroughly research and document their contributions. This will require your students to research and find reputable online primary sources.
There are several challenges to the execution of this assignment, however:
- Finding a topic that is not already covered on Wikipedia. One suggestion is to pick a local historical place or event. This can tie into a curriculum on local history. Another suggestion is to pick an existing topic that your class can expand upon.
- Finding primary sources that are online. It may be possible to find primary sources at your local library, but these documents are not always online. This can tie into a curriculum on digital citizenship, online research, and use of primary sources.
The benefit of this assignment is the pride of saying that your class contributed content to a publicly-available global source of knowledge.