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Science Education in an Age of Misinformation

Osborne, J., Pimentel, D., Alberts, B., Allchin, D., Barzilai, S., Bergstrom, C., Coffey, J., Donovan,
Science Education in an Age of Misinformation. Stanford University, Stanford, CA: “Misinformation is a grave threat to science. In this report, generated by an international group of leading scientists and education researchers, we outline the nature of that threat along with why it is important and how it can be addressed…Living in an age of misinformation, two things must be done to address this challenge. First, scientists and both formal and informal science educators must contribute to building the knowledge and capabilities required for digital media and information literacy, particularly in the sciences. Second, they must develop an understanding of the importance of consensus in science and, in addition, the social practices the scientific community uses to vet knowledge claims to produce trustworthy knowledge. Currently, science education from elementary to undergraduate rarely, if ever, explains to its students how the sciences ensure that the knowledge they produce can be trusted. This omission does science a disservice and enables misinformation to spread, providing a space for the purveyors of disinformation to undermine the authority and legitimacy of reliable scientific knowledge. In this report, therefore, we lay out how science education can meet its responsibility to provide all students with the competences needed to navigate this sea of false and questionable information without becoming lost, confused, and, more importantly, deceived…”

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