Unthoughtful consumption

We spent the last 200+ years (at least) pushing consumption models of learning on most of our students. We asked them to be passive recipients of whatever information came from the teacher or textbook. We gave them few opportunities to question the reliability or validity of the information that we spoon-fed them. We trusted that someone else did the filtering for us and them beforehand. And in many cases, we actually punished kids who dared to ask questions or present alternative viewpoints.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that we now have an information / media literacy problem with our adults. We shouldn’t be surprised that most of our citizens have trouble determining the validity and reliability of digital and online information sources. We shouldn’t be surprised that we are easy prey for those who spread misinformation, deception, and outright lies.

It’s going to get even worse as new tools for creating and spreading falsehoods proliferate. We should be more alarmed that we’re not doing more about this issue in our elementary and secondary classrooms. But we don’t seem to be. Not yet, not in most school systems. A few token ‘digital citizenship’ lessons from a teacher or librarian and we seem to think we’ve addressed this concern. A few conversations that in no way prepare students for this:

Our new information landscape

When will we take seriously the challenge of preparing our graduates for our new information landscape? And what are we going to do about all of our graduates?

3 Responses to “Unthoughtful consumption”

  1. Our mass media doesn’t know how to deal with this, and that’s their current business and possible destruction of their future. Even the curriculum that does address real vs fake news/websites is very shallow (looking at the URL or trying to find authoritative references), and industries and special interests have spent decades and millions of dollar creating fake “experts” who will put out disinformation and propaganda in line with the views of the people providing the money (one example) It’s easy to criticize the education system, but who is actually trained to spot this, and how will this information be communicated to students or the public? It’s a crisis for not only education, but the entire idea behind democracy (assuming an informed public).

    • “It’s a crisis for not only education, but the entire idea behind democracy (assuming an informed public).”

      Bingo. Making this issue even more urgent.

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