Maryland today | Op/ed: Students (and many adults) can’t tell the facts…

Do you think websites ending in “.org” are more trustworthy than those ending in “.com”? Or that attractive sites are authoritative? These myths have made it difficult, especially for students, to know who and what to trust online – a problem they too often share with the adults in their lives. Amid the confusion, misinformation continues to proliferate in society, says a University of Maryland education researcher.

In a new essay in Education Week, Sarah McGrew, an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership, recommends that schools help solve the problem by revealing to students gaps in their mental shortcuts to assess truthfulness on the Internet, and teach new approaches such as “reading laterally” or quickly checking a series of sources about a dubious claim.

If you’re a teacher, you’ve probably heard students share something they learned on TikTok or Instagram and thought, “That doesn’t seem right. …” Sometimes these stories are light-hearted and mocked. Other times, they shape how students perceive the world and their place in it.

For example, students share what they have heard on social media about the war in Ukraine. Some stories are true, but some are dubious or completely made up. As community members and future voters, students should be able to distinguish fact from fiction and high-quality sources from propaganda. As teachers, we have the opportunity, even the obligation, to help.

However, such help may not be widespread. In a recent survey by Common Sense Media, fewer than 4 in 10 K-12 teachers in the United States said teach students to evaluate online information.

Lily the rest in Education Week.

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