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Resources for Teaching about Deepfakes

Whiting: Deep Fakes - teaser image

One viral example of deep fake technology features Bill Hader in conversation with David Letterman on his late night show in 2008. When Hader does an impression of Tom Cruise, his face subtly shifts into Cruise's. Later in the video Hader shifts into Seth Rogan. While the creator of this video wanted to raise awareness about the potential for AI to be used for misinformation, it would be interesting for students to use this video to discuss the implications of this video technology on information access. You can see an annotated version from the Guardian News YouTube channel:

I always find it interesting to ask students if the assessments of them done by adults ring true with them. The Civic Online Reasoning study by Stanford University researchers found that students are unprepared to judge the credibility of information from the Internet. You can see an interview about this as Sam Wineburg, founder and executive director of the Stanford History Education Group, joins MSNBC News' Kendis Gibson and Jacob Ward to discuss the statistics found at Do your students agree with this assessment of them? Try using some of the sample questions from the study, which is available from Stanford's Digital Repository (, and other teaching material the SHEG team has created to see how they do on the Civic Reasoning Online site:

"Deepfake: A Brief History of Unreliable Images" ( John and Hank Green fans will want to check out this resource they created to help students understand deep fakes and partnered with SHEG and COR to create a video series about media literacy (

In October 2019, Vicki Davis (Cool Cat Teacher) interviewed Wesley Fryer about deep fakes for her 10 Minute Teacher podcast ( Fryer provides ideas for teaching your students about this technology and its ramifications and Davis posts links to Fryer's resources on her site. Students as young as upper elementary can tackle these ideas. This excerpt from Springboards to Inquiry by Paige Jaeger and Mary Boyd Ratzer has ideas for teaching artificial intelligence that you can adopt and adapt: Artificial Intelligence Lesson Plan.

Tom Bober is always a source of quality ideas for helping to develop students' media literacy. In this video he discusses how to help students analyze video and offers suggestions around building observation skills in video content in particular: Audio-Visual Primary Sources: Analyzing Film.

Psychology teachers frequently examine with their students the unreliability of eyewitnesses when remembering a dramatic scene. In his article "Courts and Lawyers Struggle with Growing Prevalence of Deepfakes" from the American Bar Association journal, Matt Reynolds discusses concerns about deep fakes during court proceedings which adds a new dimension to that dilemma (

If you and your students are interested in learning more about machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Machine Learning Café ( is a podcast dedicated to this topic and CNN's created an interactive website on deep fakes (

About the Author

Jacquelyn Whiting is the Instructional Coach and Technology Integrator for a school district in Connecticut. She has a bachelor's in Government Studies and Studio Art from Connecticut College and a master's in Social Studies and Education from South Connecticut State University. She is also a Google Certified Innovator, a Google Certified Coach, and Local Activator for Future Design School. Jacquelyn is the co-author of News Literacy: The Keys to Combating Fake News and the author of Student-Centered Learning by Design. She presents frequently on human-centered design, student and educator voice, and innovative educational technology practices. You can follow her tweeting @MsJWhiting.

Select Citation Style:
MLA Citation
Whiting, Jacquelyn. "Resources for Teaching about Deepfakes." School Library Connection, January 2020,
Chicago Citation
Whiting, Jacquelyn. "Resources for Teaching about Deepfakes." School Library Connection, January 2020.
APA Citation
Whiting, J. (2020, January). Resources for teaching about deepfakes. School Library Connection.

Entry ID: 2259957

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