There are different ways for us to learn about any topic in general. Some learn via audio, visual, and hands-on practice, and some like incorporating games into their learning techniques to make things interesting. I find that games can stimulate different parts of our brains and allow us to retain information in a fun matter. This week, I played two games based on mis/disinformation and fake news. The games were fun and addictive to some point.
This game has various levels in which the player gets to read a news article and decide whether the article is true or fake based on the source and content. Once the player reads the article, they can click on “show source” and determine whether the source used for the article is reputable or not. An article by Stevenson University provides good information on whether an article comes from a reliable source.
Once you have decided, you can select the red “X” for fake news or the green check mark for real news. The game will then pop up an explanation of why you got it correct or incorrect, along with tips on telling fake news from real ones.
This game teaches players to be wary of the information they see online. Not because it sounds credible means that it is. Apart from the source, other ways players can tell when an article might be fake are based on grammar. Some fake news sites do not pay enough attention to editing or double-checking their grammar. Therefore, as readers, we will notice many mistakes, which should be a red flag and cause us to question further what we are reading.
I have to say I spent much time playing this game. It is not because it was time-consuming, but because it was fun to have a goal to try to accomplish and see how easy it is to spread false information for personal gain. The basis of this game is that as a player, you need to generate some quick money for a goal. This goal can be a used car, a down payment for an apartment, or even a new music system. To make things easier on myself, I chose to go for the new music system, which had a lower monetary goal of $200.
To earn this money, I had to create a website and make it as believable as possible. The game gives you goals to achieve with your website as you copy “news” from other sites and plant them in groups to generate ad revenue. Although the game moves quickly, it does show how long it would typically take to complete different actions.
The game teaches players that as long as you have patience, it is relatively easy to copy, paste, and plant fake news online to generate revenue. It opens our eyes to how any regular person with access to a computer and the internet can create any “news” they want and pass them as accurate. It is up to us, the reader, to scrutinize everything we read.
Sometimes, the copied stories can be real and just plagiarized to gain money from them. An article by CNBC explains how this situation happened to a journalist and how she created one to see how easy it was to accomplish.
Games offer a way for learners of all types to engage in materials and understand where they come from and how they affect them. When it comes to mis/disinformation, it is important to understand the implications of falling prey to these articles, what we can do to become aware of what we read, and how to properly accept or deny information. Other online games also touch on the topic of fake news and can help us explore this topic further.