Bett 2019 – Fact or Fake

Developing critical learners in the digital age – Bett 2019 talk resources

Here is a summary pdf of the talk and a link to watch the full talk on our Vimeo channel. Find all the links and other resources below (with some extra links to recently published reports).

To get the most out of our talk please sign up for our free newsletter to receive regular updates… and if you are interested in working with us, workshops in school or support and training for teachers please contact us at

Resources and links to accompany our talk

Video clips shown in the talk

Fact or fake: developing critical learners in the digital age

How do children make sense of their digital life both in school and out? And how do we as adults navigate our own pathway through the forest of fact, fiction, fanaticism and fantasy and guide our pupils by appealing to fun rather than fear

Drawing on our teaching experience and work with a wide range of partners, we will explore some practical ways to engage children in critical evaluation of digital information in a range of contexts, supporting their learning and development both as consumers and creators of content of all kinds, fact and fiction included.


More on digital criticality below…

What is digital criticality?

Digital criticality is having the skills to make a critical evaluation of digital information in a range of contexts, whether that’s a story from a news organisation, a tweet, an image or a YouTube video.

Why is it important now?

Having the skills to be critical about information that’s encountered online has never been more important. The digital world is increasingly complex with more channels and more sophisticated technology that can make it harder to distinguish between fact and opinion – or even outright fake. You’re also more likely to come across ‘fake news’ – and spread it – with research showing that fake news reaches users up to 20 times faster than factual content.

Recent key findings from the recent National literacy Trust Fake News Commission are worrying:

  • Only 2% of children have the critical literacy skills they need to tell if a news story is real or fake.
  • Half of children (49.9%) are worried about not being able to spot fake news.
  • Two-thirds of children (60.6%) now trust the news less as a result of fake news.
  • Two-thirds of teachers (60.9%) believe fake news is harming children’s well-being, increasing their anxiety levels.
  • Half of teachers (53.5%) believe that the national curriculum does not equip children with the literacy skills they need to identify fake news.

We believe that enabling and empowering critical and discerning learners is an essential activity for the classroom, not a bolt-on option.



Sessions for teachers and in school support and workshops: please contact us on


Digital literacy

In the fourth episode of our podcast series, presenter Julia Lawrence and expert guests tackle this very topical issue and suggest a wide range of useful resources for teachers and parents.

Look out for our upcoming podcasts this year where we will explore other aspects of this topic.

Blog posts

What is digital literacy and what’s it got to do with fake news?

As London CLC announces a new digital literacy collaboration with First News and the Guardian Foundation, Peter Lillington explores what exactly literacy means in a digital world.

What is news literacy and how do you teach it?

Peter Lillington explores this hot topic and recommends some new resources to help you teach it in the classroom.

Fake news: helping children to untangle the web

London CLC director Sarah Horrocks examines the rise in concern around fake news and critical literacy and considers whether primary schoolchildren are equipped to spot the spoofs.

Explore further

We’ve left some of our favourites here but please make sure you have checked out the links that accompany our January BETT talk (see elsewhere on this page)


Funded by Google, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, Guardian Foundation and the PSHE Association, NewsWise is a free, cross-curricular news literacy project for 9 to 11-year-olds across the UK. It helps teachers empower pupils to access, understand, analyse and participate in the news.

National Literacy Trust Fake News group

Fake news and critical literacy: final report – including the findings of the Commission’s primary, secondary and teachers surveys about fake news

Education for a Connected World Framework – a tool focusing on eight different areas of online education

Digital Literacy scheme of work from SWGfL – free materials designed to empower pupils and students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world

Sign up to our weekly newsletter to get edtech news and views, free resources and reviews direct to your inbox every Thursday lunchtime – including a weekly ‘give it a try’ app or tool recommendation.

If you would like to contact us please click here.