Digital Judgement

Interesting item spotted on the BBC news site today, video clip here:

Conspiracy theories and propaganda are gaining credence in the classroom because young people are not being taught how to judge the accuracy of information on the internet, according to think tank Demos.

It’s based on the recently published report entitled ‘Truth, Lies and The Internet’ which is available here (free download).

From the report’s executive summary:

The ability to judge the merits of different pieces of information is not new; it is the basis of much of classical philosophy. However, the architecture and functionality of the internet makes the job of separating the wheat from the chaff even harder. A specific body of skills and knowledge is required to make informed judgments. We use the term ‘digital fluency’ to describe this competence; the ability to find and critically evaluate online information. It is a combination of ‘old’ critical thinking skills, such as source verification, and ‘new’ knowledge about how the digital world works, such as understanding search engines. These are the bedrock skills necessary for the individual to use the internet to search, retrieve, contextualise, analyse, visualise and synthesise information effectively.

One of their recommendations is that ‘digital judgment must become a core part of the National Curriculum and teacher training.’

The ‘veracity of information’ problem is pervasive of course but will presumably get more complicated in time so awareness and education in this area seems quite important.

See also here.

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