Educators can use digital literacy to combat misleading information

Dive Brief:

  • As the speed of information makes it all the more important to contextualize news and weed out misleading information, educators must work to instill strong digital literacy in students by coaching them in ways to identify reputable sources, according to Ed Tech: Focus on Higher Ed.
  • With so much of students’ research and analysis done via internet browsing and searches, educators must also teach students “effective search processes,” including how to properly utilize databases and what types of resources can typically be considered accurate.
  • In addition to properly teaching students how to find and use accurate data, colleges and institutions must ensure that their own facilities are secure. Though institutions are working to respond to cyber attacks and hacking, proper awareness among students and staff may help prevent issues in the first place.

Dive Insight:

According to a recent study on millennials’ ability to discern "fake news," only 24% of respondents were able to answer most of the questions that tested whether they could indeed pick out inaccurate information. Though many students did receive critical thinking education in their college career, only 13% felt confident that it prepared them to know "fake news" when they came across it.

Part of the issue may rest with a digital literacy lag between student and educator. Analyses by the Pew Research Center indicates that smartphone and social media usage among young adults is at a higher rate than older individuals, though it is increasing for everyone. The "fake news" survey indicated many millennials had inadvertently spread inaccurate information via social media, so proper education for the educators may be paramount in order to integrate digital literacy into a student’s education wherever may be beneficial and appropriate. Institutions need to ensure that educators have a firm grounding in digital literacy in order to relay accurate advice to the students in their classroom.

This is essential even for professors in liberal arts disciplines that are not utilizing tech in the classroom. History courses, for example, may not always require digital savvy in the classroom compared to other disciplines, but it’s very likely students will require digital literacy in the research and studying require to complete that course.

Filed Under: Higher Ed Technology