Information Literacy Is More Important Than Ever: Let's Teach the Nuances of Misinformation
BY DR. KRISTEN MATTSON
Information is everywhere. It is abundant. Limitless. In general, we are hungry for information. We seek the latest facts, figures, headlines and stories about the topics and issues most important to us. We worry about missing something valuable.
During times of uncertainty – a global pandemic, a disastrous weather event, a school shooting – we find comfort in consuming the news, in understanding the smallest of details, in finding the answers to our lingering questions. When it comes to making important decisions – about the health of our children, before making a large purchase, or contemplating who to vote for in an upcoming election – we find ourselves reading and seeking and rereading and sharing as we weigh our options and attempt to make the best choices for ourselves, our families and our communities.
At times like these, the connectedness we share through technology and the ease in which information is created, shared and consumed can be both a blessing and a curse. The constant flow of content in the form of written word, video, audio and even meme can quickly become overwhelming. This steady stream of proverbial noise requires our brains to do a lot of heavy lifting as we sort through it all. What can I believe? Who can I trust? How can I help others get better at sifting through it all too?
Information literacy is more important than ever. Unfortunately, many have watered down the complexities of our current information landscape into “real news” and “fake news” – often labeling sources as such based solely on whether it affirms or refutes their already-held biases or viewpoints. Misinformation, however, is much more complicated than these two binary constructs, and if we want to build the skills of our students and our communities, we must teach the nuances of misinformation.
I hope you will join me for a free webinar titled, “Information Literacy in Today’s World: A Pandemic, Fake News, and Elections,” on Tuesday, April 14, at 2:00pm CST. During the webinar, I will break down misinformation into five distinct types, help you understand how misinformation is designed to spread, what motivates people to share it, and several tips and tools that can help you and your students be even better at navigating today’s information landscape confidently.
DR. KRISTEN MATTSON
Dr. Mattson is an award-winning writer, library advocate, digital citizenship expert and talented presenter. With experience as a classroom teacher as well as a librarian, Mattson learned early on to balance every learning experience with the most current and relevant research, personal experiences from the field, and opportunities for participants to engage, reflect, interact, and apply. She transformed a 40-year old school library in both space and practice into a 21st-century learning center, where she partners with teachers in all content areas to integrate digital literacy, research, and innovation into the classroom. Her library epitomizes every aspect of the Future Ready Framework, and she and supports fellow librarians by hosting site visits, facilitating professional development, blogging, and moderating the Future Ready Librarians Facebook group. She is a contributing author of International Handbook of Media Literacy Education (Routledge, 2017). You can follow her blog here: https://drkmattson.com.
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