Information literacy skills top many lists of must-have abilities, especially in the age of fake news. Not all results in a Google search are legitimate–but how many of today’s students know this?
Children have access to devices at younger ages, which underscores the importance of teaching them how to look at news with a critical eye and to evaluate the information’s origin. Because today’s students are growing up in an age where information is easily accessed, they need to know how to apply critical evaluation skills when met with information purporting to be truthful.
A 2017 Stanford University study determined that students from middle school through college were not able to distinguish between reliable news sources and sponsored content or advertising.
“In every case and at every level, we were taken aback by students’ lack of preparation,” the study’s authors write. “Never have we had so much information at our fingertips. Whether this bounty will make us smarter and better informed or more ignorant and narrow-minded will depend on our awareness of this problem and our educational response to it.”
During the 2016 presidential election, fake news stories were more popular than legitimate media reports.