- Date published:
8:19 am, November 23rd, 2016 - 131 comments
Categories: education, journalism, making shit up, Media, uk politics - Tags: critical thinking, education, facebook, fake news, humanities, Media, trumpocalypse
Revelations surrounding the role of fake news in the American election have been stunning. If you haven’t been following the topic, here’s a quick catch-up:
This is a deep and complex problem, and also a crisis for democracy. Here’s another depressing angle:
Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds
Preteens and teens may appear dazzlingly fluent, flitting among social-media sites, uploading selfies and texting friends. But they’re often clueless about evaluating the accuracy and trustworthiness of what they find.
Some 82% of middle-schoolers couldn’t distinguish between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a real news story on a website, according to a Stanford University study of 7,804 students from middle school through college. The study, set for release Tuesday, is the biggest so far on how teens evaluate information they find online. Many students judged the credibility of newsy tweets based on how much detail they contained or whether a large photo was attached, rather than on the source.
A growing number of schools are teaching students to be savvy about choosing and believing various information sources, a skill set educators label “media literacy.” A free Stanford social-studies curriculum that teaches students to judge the trustworthiness of historical sources has been downloaded 3.5 million times, says Sam Wineburg, a professor in Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and the lead author of the study on teens.
However, fewer schools now have librarians, who traditionally taught research skills. And media literacy has slipped to the margins in many classrooms, to make room for increased instruction in basic reading and math skills. …
It’s not just “teens” who have a problem of course, but let’s just follow up on that educational angle.
What skills do we need to tell fake news from real? Critical thinking, the ability to analyse material. Research skills, the ability to find and evaluate information. An understanding of how human reasoning works, logical fallacies, the structure of rhetoric. Ideally some background in general history, philosophy and science.
So how are we doing in NZ? As per the quoted piece, we are reducing the time spent on critical and creative thinking in skills to over-focus on basic “reading and math” (national standards). In our universities the humanities – where most of the critical skills that we need are fostered – are being significantly undercut – just at the time that we need them the most.
This doesn’t end well for democracy.