This is not a political blog, but, this past year’s political season has called into question the role of social media and technology in an informed society. Although this problem has been very real for a long time, the results of the election at all levels has caused an open debate about the value of social media and whether or not we are surrounding ourselves with diverse media and points of view or preferring only sources that confirm our thinking, correct or not.
To add some additional complexity, there is some persuasive evidence that our students are not handling the diverse media environment with the deft we aspire to: a recent study featured on NPR reported that researchers were “shocked” at the inability of students to evaluate the credibility of sources.
This is particularly troubling to me as a social studies teacher. The loss of instructional time and focus on social studies, civics and government in the past two decades confounds this problem, as does dwindling resources for media literacy and library/media instruction.
I am working on a longer blog post about this with some suggestions on where we can start as teachers to push in the right direction. To be clear, I know some you are doing amazing work at helping guide your students to be able consumers of information in this very overcrowded information age. However, if you are like many others, it might be time to evaluate both your own social media news practices, then consider how it works in the classroom.
To start, last week’s Note to Self Podcast rebroadcasts a great conversation from earlier in their run about the need to diversify your own media diet to provide different perspectives, even those that challenge your beliefs. It isn’t a comprehensive solution to a complex problem, but, it is a really good start.
Is this on your radar? If so, what’s your strategy for challenging this in the classroom? Hit is up in comments below, or, Tweet NCCE to discuss!