Strengthening Media Literacy in Science
Lisa Tappeiner, Associate Professor, Library Department, & George Rosa, Multimedia Specialist and Biology Instructor, Hostos Community College
Today, it is difficult for many readers of online information to distinguish scientific evidence, serious journalism, or informed opinion from publications with the sole purpose of supporting a political point of view and encouraging inflammatory reactions. All kinds of information, both facts and alternative facts, appear on professional-looking websites with catchy graphics and attention-grabbing headlines. Moreover, in a context where readers’ comments are prominent, unfiltered, and entertaining to read, it is as easy to be persuaded by social media’s reactions to a piece of online writing as by the strength of an argument and its supporting evidence, the reputation of a publication, or an author’s credentials. In this chaotic information environment, what kinds of strategies can we use to prepare our students to consume media wisely and make informed decisions, both as professionals and citizens?Research shows that students are coming to college unprepared to critically evaluate information sources at a time when these skills are increasingly essential. A librarian and a biology instructor will team up to discuss the current state of research on college students’ media literacy skills and investigate strategies to address this lack of preparedness. In particular, they will discuss specific approaches to teaching about science and resources that can help build subject knowledge as well as critical evaluation skills. Participants will leave this session with new teaching ideas and a list of activities and resources that can be used to support media literacy in the classroom.