Children should be taught how to think critically and analyse what they read on the internet so they can recognise fake news, a top education expert has said.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s director of education and skills, Andreas Schleicher, said the ability to analyse what is true and what is not true was essential in the modern digital age.

He also suggested that social media creates an echo-chamber in which people only hear from viewpoints similar to their own, and schools should make sure youngsters have a chance to debate different opinions.

In the past, when you needed information, you went to an encyclopaedia, you looked it up, and you could trust that information to be true, Mr Schleicher said.

Distinguishing what is true from what is not true is a critical skill today.

Exposing fake news, even being aware that there is something like fake news, that there is something that is written that is not necessarily true, that you have to question, think critically. That is very important.

This is something that we believe schools can do something about.

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, supports the move.

Children are bombarded with information online and are often targeted through data collected on their interests and internet history, she said.

The sheer volume of information alone makes navigation an art in itself and children will often lack the experience and understanding to be able to deal with the fake sites and fake news they see.

Children need the skills to prepare them for the digital world they inhabit which includes digital citizenship classes in schools. We also need to see responsible behaviour from the digital industry.

Mr Schleicher was speaking ahead of the annual Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, where he will put forward the think-tank’s plans to test young people’s attitudes to global issues and different cultures, their analytical and critical skills, and abilities to interact with others.

The assessments will form part of the international tests, known as the Performance in International Student Assessments or PISAs, which rank education systems around the globe.

The new computer-based global competencies tests will be taken by 15-year-olds around the world alongside the OECD’s current reading, maths and science assessments which are conducted every three years.


(c) Sky News 2017: Teach pupils to spot fake news, says education expert


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