Fake news – What is the real deal?

Fake news is the Word of the year for 2017, according to Collins Dictionary.

Facebook knows fake news is a real issue so how do we know what is going on? Can we trust the news media? Is the newspaper, if you still read it, worth the paper it is printed on? Can you trust Facebook not to be feeding you fake news to your profile?

If you turn to social media, you soon discover hoaxes spread virally across every platform. So where do you go for reliable news, and how do you know what you are reading is real? Who is telling the truth out there?

Time for the Truthiness Test

Is it up to date? Has it been verified?

If it has just happened, there may not have been time to verify events as they occur. Check at intervals throughout the day to see if further reports clarify the situation and read other news sources to see how they are interpreting events. Try if possible to get first person reports from people on the ground rather than sources from half a world away where the events may be misinterpreted. Some news agencies will republish or rehash old news that may not be relevant to the current situation until they can get the full story. If it was posted or published a while ago does it still stand up and add to the overall picture.

Who wrote it and why?

Every story is written with a different readership in mind. Why was this story written and for whom? Do they want to entertain or to sell you something? Is it free of bias? What does the contact us information on the website tell you about the organisation that published it and what they stand for? Does the website tell you about their writers? Are they qualified to comment? Try googling the author to see what else they have published. Is the story written in a way that is trying to sway you to their point of view? How do your own beliefs affect the way you read the article and how you interpret it.

Have you checked it?

Take a look at some other news sources to check if they have a different interpretation of events. Does the URL tell you anything about the source of the information? Is it from a trusted organisation government source or educational institution? Do they have links to supporting sources or does it look like speculation? If they do have links, check them out to see where they got their information from. If they don’t state their sources they may be being paid to spread this information. Is the story overstating the facts or using outrageous headlines to get you reading it? Is it a joke? Although sometimes truth is stranger than fiction it might be a satire or a joke, so take a look at the About us section of the website to be sure.

Try putting it through a fact checking website like Snopes or FactCheck.org

Try putting it through the CRAAP test and see how it measures up. Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose (see this PDF handout from California University).

Don’t trust me, check out IFLA for their on How to Spot Fake News and a great printable infographic to remind you.

How to spot fake news, IFLA infographic
How to spot fake news, IFLA infographic CC BY 4.0

Finally, read critically and impartially. Does the news ring true?

More about fake news and critical thinking

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Exams … Study … Help!

Becky, a library assistant at Riccarton High School, has some helpful tips for students at exam time.

It’s that time of year again, when exams are on the horizon. Information is being thrown at you from every direction, pressure is on you to do well at your exams, and all you want is to get a good night’s sleep for once!

Well never fear, we are here to give you some tips and tricks on how to survive this season and make it through to the holidays (yippee)!

How do I start studying?

  • Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. It can be nice to study with friends, but make sure that you won’t distract each other when you should be focused on your work. If you think your friends will be distracting (or you think you’ll distract your friends), suggest that you study separately, and you can always meet up when exams are done. A good place to study might be your school or local library, classrooms designated for study, or a quiet room in your house, or your friend’s house.
  • Set yourself rewards to keep motivated. If you’re really struggling to find motivation to study, set yourself a prize after each topic, chapter, or hour of study. A good prize might be a wee chocolate bar, a quick call with a friend or a chapter of a novel (social media is not recommended – that can easily suck away your time if you’re not careful).
  • Remember to take breaks. It is very important that you give yourself some time to breathe when you’re busy studying. Go outside for some fresh air, take a walk around the block and drink lots of water.

This is my first year of NCEA, any tips for sitting the exams?

  • Go to bed early the night before. A good night’s rest will help you much more than a late night cramming.
  • Stay hydrated during the exam. Bring your water bottle!
  • Eat a good breakfast before your exam so you have given your brain sufficient energy to think.
  • Remember to take your NCEA Exam Admission Slip into every exam with you. This is so the supervisor can authorise who you are – they won’t let you into the exam if you don’t have it.
  • Bring spare pens and remember your calculator if the exam requires it!

  • Look through the whole exam. Make note of which questions you know you’ll be able to answer and what might be a little more challenging. (You also might just find an answer to an early question hidden in a later one).
  • Double check your answers. Make sure to check over everything you’ve written to find any hidden mistakes or wrong answers.
  • Stay until the end of the exam. There is nothing worse than stepping out of an exam and remembering an answer to a question you were stuck on. Don’t let that happen when there is still time left. Once you leave the exam, there is no going back.
  • Read the questions and answer them. This one might seem obvious, but sometimes you might misread the question, and go off answering in a direction that the examiner did not intend. Some questions have multiple parts to them – make sure you have answered every part.

What about my social life?

Your friends will all be going through the same thing right now. And if a friend isn’t interested in studying, they should understand that you want to do well in your exams. You can always plan to meet up after exams are over and celebrate a job well done!

Most importantly, remember that there is life after exams, and there is life after failure. Study hard and try your best, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped. There will always be a next step for you.

More tips

Women Rule!

Actually they do now with our new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. So if you want to find out more about role of women in history, then we have two excellent new eResources just for you.

The Women’s Studies Collection

From Bridget Williams Books, we have a collection of New Zealand women’s history and publishing. It has a selection of great titles including

A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes
A comprehensive history of New Zealand seen through a female lens. Brookes argues that while European men erected the political scaffolding to create a small nation, women created the infrastructure necessary for colonial society to succeed.

The Women’s Suffrage Petition,Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine, 1893
In 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world with universal suffrage: all New Zealand women now had the right to vote. This achievement owed much to an extraordinary document: the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition.This book tells the story of the Women’s Suffrage Petition through the lives of over 150 women who signed; alongside is the narrative of the campaign for women’s suffrage.

Strong, Beautiful and Modern: National Fitness in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, 1935–1960  by Charlotte Macdonald
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, a wave of state-sponsored national fitness programmes swept Britain and its former colonies. Following revelations of the Nazi enthusiasm for government-backed sports and the organisation of mass leisure, the programmes quickly foundered. They probably laid, however, the foundations for the twentieth century’s obsession with fitness, a key facet of modern life.


The Women’s Studies Archive

A collection of primary source material that captures the foundation of  women’s movements, struggles and triumphs. This archive has 15 collections ranging from newspaper and periodical collections to conference papers and photographs. Here are some examples of collections:

European Women’s Periodicals
This collection of European women’s periodicals contains publications from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Dutch Indonesia, from 1830-1940. At the time of their original publication the periodicals in this collection informed readers and allowed them to express their views on a wide range of topics, including literature and the arts, women’s suffrage, birth control, education, and homemaking.

Herstory
The Herstory Collection comprises full texts of journals, newspapers, and newsletters tracing the evolution of women’s rights movements in the United States and abroad from 1956 to 1974. The collection includes documents from the National Organization of Women (NOW), Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Women Strike for Peace (WSP), and many other groups.

Women’s Labour League: Conference Reports and Journals, 1906-1977
This collection consists of the conference proceedings, annual reports, and publications from the Women’s Labour League and the Labour Party Women’s Organization. The Women’s Labour League (WLL) was a UK-based feminist-driven organization aimed at increasing women’s involvement in Parliament and other significant political forums.

Papanui Technical School Tramping Club Hike: Christchurch Photo Hunt 2017

Photo Hunt 2017: Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way

This year the theme for Photo Hunt is Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way. However, the photos you submit are not limited to this theme. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Christchurch City Libraries has produced a set of four postcards promoting the competition which are available from your local library. Each week during October we’ll be featuring one of the postcard images on our blog.

Papanui Technical School Tramping Club Hike. Kete Christchurch. Papanui_Technical_School_Tramping_Club_hike_2831322677_o. Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Papanui Technical School Tramping Club Hike at the Sign of the Kiwi, 1948. Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt.

Papanui Technical College was founded in 1936 and was officially renamed Papanui High School in 1949.

About Kete Christchurch

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Cool stuff from the selectors: Children’s books

Nadiya’s Bake me a story by Nadiya Hussain
Winner of the 2015 Great British Bake Off combines traditional tales and recipes for all the family. She also has a new Christmas title Bake me a Festive Story arriving in October.

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Fish girl by Donna Jo Napoli
Napoli teams with Caldecott winner David Wiesner in this Graphic Novel about a young mermaid who is the main attraction in an aquarium. She can’t talk and she can’t walk but she can make friends with a girl named Livia. Can she find a new life on land?  Like all David Wiesner’s books the pictures in this book are outstanding.

Celebration of Beatrix Potter : art and letters by more than 30 of today’s book illustrators
Wonderful re-imaginations of some of Beatrix Potter’s famous tales by artists like Jon Agee, Tommie dePaola, Brian Pinkney and Rosemary Wells, the fabulous David Wiesner makes another appearance here also.  Each illustration is accompanied by text from the artist explaining what that character means to them, making this a true celebration of Beatrix Potter.

Christchurch – Our Underground  Story by Phil Wilkins
If you have a child who has been fascinated by all the trucks, bulldozers, diggers and construction going on around Christchurch then this rather quirky book could be a hit.  Designed as a large board book with lift the flaps it contains everything you did (or perhaps didn’t want to know) about what has been going on under our feet.
Read our post on Christchurch – Our underground story

A look inside Christchurch: Our underground story by Phil Wilkins and Martin Coates

The joy of coding

At school in England in the early 1980s I was given the opportunity to join an afterschool computer club. The only problem was that, being the early 1980s, our school didn’t actually have a computer. We had to write our programs in thick, dark pencil on stacks of cards that were taken away to a mysterious place, which we never got to see, where they would be fed into a computer.

Our teacher would bring the output to class the following week (or the week after that if there had been a glitch, or someone else needed the computer that week) and we would pore over the results with eager anticipation. Usually we quickly realised that we had made a fundamental error, and set about re-writing our program before waiting another week (or two) to see how things turned out. It was a glacially slow process, but an almost magical one. I don’t think I ever knew where this semi-mythical computer was, or what it looked like, but I imagined a strange colossal machine the size of a small house, similar to those depicted in Cold War science fiction films such as War Games, which were popular at the time.

Obviously, things are very different now. We are living in the age of the so-called digital native (although this may be a myth), but arguably because computers are so advanced now, we actually have fewer opportunities to tinker under the hood than we did in the early days of home computing. Early computers often required their users to manually input programs (written in languages like BASIC) before you could run them. You could buy magazines full of code for various simple games that you could type into your computer and then run. You could even change the code to alter the parameters of the game. This meant that we learned much more about how computers worked, and how to get them to do what we wanted, than is usually the case these days.

Modern computers are much less amenable to this sort of tinkering. Messing about with the code on your computer is likely to lead to a catastrophic system failure, so although computers are now embedded in almost every aspect of our lives, we often have very little idea about what makes them tick.

The ubiquity of computers in society, coupled with the general ignorance of most people as to how they work, has been recognised as a serious problem. Recently, there has been a strong push among educators to get kids coding. Code clubs have sprung up all over the place, digital technology is set to become part of the New Zealand curriculum, and lots of books have been published aimed at getting kids coding, with varying degrees of success.

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Recently, my 9-year-old daughter and I read a series of three graphic novels called Secret Coders, which aim to teach coding through the medium of storytelling. These books centre around Hopper, a young girl who finds herself at a strange new school. Along with two new friends, Josh and Eni (many of the names in the book reference famous computers or computer scientists, such as Grace Hopper and ENIAC), Hopper falls into a series of adventures that require the gang to solve various puzzles to figure out what’s really going on at the school.

Many of these puzzles require them to program turtle-like robots to perform particular tasks. The puzzles get increasingly complex. As the reader is encouraged to solve these puzzles for themselves before reading on, almost without realising it, by the end of the first book we were writing programs in a computer language called Logo. There are also some owls living in the school who have a very unusual way of communicating in binary, which adds to the air of mystery. The story is genuinely captivating, and kept us turning the pages. The graphics are engaging, the characters are delightful, and the puzzles are intriguing.

At the end of each book there is a link to a website where you can download a version of the Logo programming language and use it to write your own programs to create computer graphics. We tried it, and within minutes we were making snowflakes and other images using what we had learned from the books. A world of warning though – computer code is very unforgiving and one small typing error can give unexpected results, or even stop a program from working at all, which can be frustrating for young children; nevertheless, the necessary concepts were well within the grasp of my 9-year-old daughter. There’s also a nice website with extra activities, and you can even download a file for 3D printing your own replica of one of the robots from the book.

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We had a lot of fun with these books, and I think we learned a lot too. Each volume follows directly on from the previous one, in a continuous narrative, usually beginning with the answer to a puzzle that was set at the end of the last book. We’ve read the first three books, and it seems that there will be more in the series. There are still lots of loose threads to tie up in the story, and there is clearly a lot more to learn about coding. We’ve looked at a few other coding books aimed at kids, but these were the ones that captured our imaginations the most, and it’s not just about learning a particular programming language, but understanding computational thinking – how to break a problem down into its smallest discrete units, each of which can be translated into a simple instruction to a computer, which is a skill that is likely to be applicable to other areas of modern life.

We’re really looking forward to reading the rest of the series. This feel like the start of what could be a long journey to understanding more and more about computers and coding. We intend to keep learning about this stuff, and if we find other useful library resources along the way we will tell you about them in future posts on this blog.

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In the meantime, if you’d like to know more, there is an excellent new biography of Grace Hopper, namesake of the protagonist in “The Secret Coders” books, aimed at a similar age group.

For younger children, My First Coding Book makes a wonderful introduction to computational thinking, with ingeniously creative use of flaps, pull-out tabs, and other devices that kids will be familiar with, to illustrate coding concepts with various games and puzzles…

More about coding

Adult Learners’ Week – Celebrating the Value of Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is great for health, wellbeing and mental agility. Adult learners of all ages and backgrounds report benefits like better self-esteem, greater tolerance, confidence and career prospects.

Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga runs 4-10 September and celebrates all adult learning whether it’s upskilling for a better job, preparing for further study, improving life skills or having fun. It is supported by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and incorporates International Literacy Day on September 8.

If you’ve ever been curious about our learning programmes for adults – sessions on learning how to use a new piece of technology, family history research, or polishing up your CV – Adult Learners’ Week is a great time to head along and try out what we have to offer.

Library events during Adult Learners’ Week

  • eResource Taster sessions, Central Library Peterborough –  Each session focuses on a different eResource. Learn about accessing/downloading digital newspapers (PressReader), eBooks (Overdrive), eAudiobooks (BorrowBox), and eMagazines (RBdigital Magazines) as well as tips for researching family history (Ancestry Library) or online language learning (Mango Languages)
  • Technology Help Drop-in Sessions, several libraries – Have a specific issue relating to a device or piece of technology? Drop-in and get some guidance.
  • ESOL Club, Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre – This club is for non-native speakers who would like to practice English in a relaxed, pressure free environment. Every week we will have a different themed topics to guide conversational practice.
  • Family History Help, Fendalton and Upper Riccarton Libraries – Looking for more help with your family history research? A volunteer from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists will be available to help you with your family history questions.
  • CV drop-in, New Brighton Library – A librarian will be on hand to assist customers who are needing help with their resume. We can offer guidance on creating, updating, and editing your CV.
  • Learner License Course, Aranui Library – This course, delivered by Literacy Christchurch, is designed to give you all the knowledge and confidence needed for best success at passing when sitting for your learners licence test. Laptops and devices will be available for use during the class times to sit practice tests and for researching questions.
  • How to organise and edit your digital photos, South Library – Learn how to organise your photographs and do some basic editing using online photo editing software. Please ensure that you bring your camera and USB download cables. Cost: $7. To make a booking please call 941 5140

Find out more

Open air classrooms opened at Fendalton Primary School – This week in history 24-30 July

The first open air classroom at Fendalton Primary School was officially opened on the 26th of July 1924 by Mr E.H. Andrews, a member of the Canterbury Education Board. Professor Shelley, who was Professor of Education at Canterbury College, also gave an opening address encouraging the school and committee to continue the project.

By the 1920s most parents were being guided by the Plunket Society to realise the benefits of fresh-air and sunlight for their children and the Christchurch Open-Air League had been able to persuade the Canterbury Education Board to build some open-air classrooms. The most common type was like this one at Fendalton School, Christchurch, where on sunny days, sliding doors allowed one whole wall to be opened to allow in fresh air and sunshine. Each pupil had a desk and chair which could be carried outside in fine weather. The porch on the right-hand side of the photograph served as a cloakroom and shelter-shed
A classroom at Fendalton Open-Air School, Clyde Road, Christchurch, 1928, CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0025

This first open air classroom was viewed as an experiment in the new educational philosophy that fresh air, good ventilation and sunlight encouraged good health for the students, as well as providing space for exercise.

The classroom was designed by the Headmaster Mr A.R. Blank, M.B.E. and Dr R.B. Phillipps, the Canterbury Schools’ medical officer, along with the architects Ellis and Hall. A new architecture for classrooms was developed to cater to the new philosophy and the Fendalton examples allowed the whole side of a building to be opened up. Using wood as an adaptable building material, rather than brick, was seen as important for this new architecture to enable adaption of the buildings over time to incorporate developing ideas in educational theory.

Photograph of an open air classroom, Fendalton School, Christchurch, taken circa 1924 by an unidentified photographer. Primary school children sit in rows at their desks, facing a teacher and a blackboard.
Creator unknown : Photograph of an open air classroom, Fendalton School, Christchurch. Ref: PAColl-8863. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. https://natlib.govt.nz/records/23185726

Mr Blank and Dr Phillipps’ belief in the ideals of the Open Air movement was so high that they guaranteed half of the £400 cost from their own pockets, and secured the other half from Christchurch Rotary Club. By opening day £170 had been raised from the public and no money was requested from the Government or Education Board for the experiment. The Department of Education was reported as being skeptical of the potential benefits of this new educational philosophy, but Mr Andrews stated in his opening speech that the Education Board had been misrepresented as being opposed.

Through the 1920s, three additional open air classrooms were built at the Fendalton Primary School. The school was often visited as an example of how open air classrooms could operate including by Dr Truby King, the Department of Education and the British Medical Association.

The Open Air Schools League was established to continue to champion the cause, and they put out a booklet The New Zealand Open-Air School in 1928 using Fendalton as the example of what can be achieved.

If you have any images you would like to contribute to a community repository of Christchurch, please visit Kete Christchurch.

More Christchurch history

To see more of what happened this week in the past, visit our Christchurch Chronology.

Samoan Language Week – Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa 2017

Talofa. Samoan Language Week 2017 will take place from 28 May to 3 June. Here at Christchurch City Libraries, we welcome you to join us for:

  • Storytimes in Samoan
  • Samoan computer session Thursday 1 June (1PM to 3PM) South Library. We will look at the latest online news, music and videos online from Samoa. E mana’omia lo outou susū mai tatou fa’ailoga fa’atasi le Gagana Samoa ma fa’ata’ita’i le fa’aaogaina o le Komeputa. E a’o’aoina ai le su’eina o tala fou, musika ma nisi mea aoga mai Samoa i luga le upega tafa’ilagi (internet).
  • Samoan Se’evae Tosotoso (Jandal) Craft Activity
    Create and design your own Samoan Se’evae Tosotoso (Jandal). Participate and enjoy learning some new Samoan words and greetings.

See the full list of Samoan Language Week activities.
Subscribe to the Facebook event.

Samoan Language Week

Samoan language resources

Find more information about Samoan Language Week and Samoan language. Our Samoan Language Week webpage includes links to books and resources in Samoan. There is a booklist Samoan language books and resources for children, as well as videos and audio. It features our wonderful colleagues Tai Sila and Jan-Hai Te Ratana performing some short Samoan songs:

Podcast – Cyberbullying

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

George Guild (Ara Institute of Canterbury), Nikki Wheeler (Sticks ‘n’ Stones) and Sean Lyons (Netsafe – via phone) join Sally to discuss cyberbullying.
What is it? What are its impacts? What can be done about it? –

  • Part I: What is cyberbullying?; Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015; NetSafe and its role
  • Part II: Stats on cyberbullying in NZ; demographic groups most affected
  • Part III: Examples of cyberbullying; cyberbullying and freedom of expression
  • Part IV: How can people keep safe online?; What can people do if they are victims of cyberbullying?

Transcript – Cyberbullying

Find out more in our collection

Cover of Cyberbullying Bullying in the Digital Age Cover of RIP Cyberbullying Cover of Beyond cyberbullying Cover of Extreme mean Cover of Y do u h8 me? Cover of Cyberbullying Cover of Bullying beyond the schoolyard Cover of Cyberbullying is never alright

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms: