Minimizing Knowledge Scepticism: Resourcing Students through Media and Information Literacy

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Globally connected and commodified digital means of communication offer a wealth of information across age-bands and across formal and informal sites of learning, yet few students obtain systematic training in transforming this information to knowledge that is tailored to their level of understanding and to the settings of learning. This gap between access to unsorted and often unsolicited information across boundaries of space, learning and generation and training in the formation of valid knowledge poses a threat to democratic societies that are based on informed citizens' joint debate and decision-making. This article addresses the gap between students' information access and their knowledge formation and discusses the challenges and possible solutions with empirical focus on the transition between upper-secondary and tertiary education. Globally connected social network sites ('social media') are key information sources for many students. Owing to their commodified, algorithmic and non-transparent character, these sites offer little guidance in terms of validation and verification of claims. I propose Media and Information Literacy (MIL) as an important means of minimizing the gap between information access and sound knowledge formation. This is because MIL goes beyond training of access to digital technologies and information search and retrieval. It also trains skills in applying communication technologies for validation, critique and knowledge production. I discuss the challenges posed to education to apply (MIL) as a key pathway to minimizing the gap in order to advance public value and societal resilience and suggest that educational systems shift their focus from teaching to learning in tandem with more inclusive approaches to where learning takes place.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Review
Number of pages11
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28. May 2020

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