Discerning the Truth

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PHOTO 2015 BY geralt (CC0)

About two months ago, Stanford published a study concerning the ability of students to question & evaluate online sources of information, and NPR had reported about it.

What interested me about this study were the high percentages within the results of the study, implying a dire problem with the modern generation of youths. According to the study, “more than 80% of middle schoolers believed that ‘sponsored content’ was a real news story…and over 80 percent of the high school students … had an extremely difficult time [determining the legitimacy of a photo of peculiar flowers].” Such a large amount of students are already struggling so early in life. In the world we live in today, technology is everywhere and it’s not monitored. Like Sam Wineburg explained to NPR, people like editors and librarians used to be the ones who checked the facts for us, but not anymore. Can we truly blame the students for not automatically questioning all online news? Or does the problem fall on the shoulders of the education system?

The United States, and perhaps even the world, needs to take a step back and reevaluate the curriculum in schools. Students need to be provided with the support and materials that will help them to succeed and assimilate in the tech-dominated world later on. So yes, I agree with NPR. The problem is not with the youths who are wandering the internet unguided, but with the education being provided to them currently.

Technology won’t be going away anytime soon. I believe that in the future, technology will grow to be an even greater asset to us. Might as well begin to teach students how to survive in that kind of world as soon as possible, before too many students are set free in the world, overly confounded and unable to thrive.

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