June 5, 2016
According to Rheingold (Teaching Critical Thinking in Age of Digital Credulity), by the end of 2014, more than 3 billion people will have had access to the internet. (I suspect that number has grown exponentially since. ) The internet has given us access to a wide range of ideas, concepts, information and cultures. Shirkey, in his talk on social media: How Social Media Can Make History points out that up to the 20th century, media was either good at creating conversation or at creating groups, but not both. He added that the internet is the first medium that has native support for groups and conversations. People can create community without ever meeting one another. They can create media, consume it, critique it, interact with the media makers and with those who also consume the media.
Unfortunately, because people can post almost anything, regardless of its veracity, it is imperative our students learn how to differentiate the proverbial wheat from the chaff.
Rheingold says the challenge is “…few teachers or parents impart to young people the always useful but now essential skills of how to question, investigate, analyze and judge that link they just got in email or the factual claim they just found through a search engine.”
How do we educate our students (and ourselves) so we are able to make accurate assessments of what we read, hear and see?
That’s the subject of my next blog post…