graphic representing person online choosing check mark or XIn a recent article, education professor Lana Parker says schools must arm students with the skills they need to parse the truth from all the misinformation and disinformation that inundates their social media feeds.

Education prof writes of the new information environment

In a society where false information abounds, students need to learn about misinformation, disinformation, bias, technological manipulations, and consumer and producer culture, writes UWindsor education professor Lana Parker.

In an article published in Education Forum, Dr. Parker writes about the findings of her research on “the new information environment” and how it affects student behaviour.

“With increasing amounts of time spent online and changing patterns of usage, students are inherently vulnerable in the new information environment,” she writes. “Intentional classroom debates could foster the skills necessary for students to better navigate shifting information landscapes.”

Parker and doctoral candidate Helen Liu write that their recent study revealed both teachers and students are grappling with how to parse truth from overwhelming misinformation in social media.

“This raises an important question: if our students are frequently facing mis- and disinformation in their everyday lives, how are they learning about it in school?”

Arming students with the knowledge on how to parse truth from all the information in their social media feeds needs to be incorporated into curriculum, they write.

“Education systems need to embody a multi-literacies approach that incorporates all the complex strategies that can help students foster meaning from and interpret information in various social contexts.”

Education Forum is a magazine distributed to members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, the union representing public high school teachers in the province.

—Sarah Sacheli

Academic Area: