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“This isn’t the only time they could access information.It’s not like their ability to learn US history ends in May.” Colglazier balances the curriculum coverage pressure with cross-cutting skills by thinking carefully about his course goals.Textbook can be a useful course skeleton, he says, but he wants students to question its silences and framing as well.
Students have to figure out if they can trust the information and, if not, find more reliable sources to back up their claims.
Colglazier doesn’t think these types of activities stray too far from his curriculum.
“So we can’t blame young people for not knowing things they haven’t been taught.” He thinks the most logical place to insert more digital media literacy is in the history curriculum, where students already should be learning to question dominant narratives, find good evidence and practice strong research skills.
To do that, Wineburg said teachers need to ditch textbooks.
“I think that the lessons of history are exactly the kind of thing we should be talking about in history class,” Wineburg said.
“But rather than teaching them as rules or things fixed in time or set in amber, these are precisely the kinds of things that are worthy of debate.” Today, most people look up information they don’t know on the internet, including students. history teacher in the San Mateo Union High School District, is taking this call to action to heart at Aragon High School.“They don’t like to be duped,” Colglazier said of his students. Some of it is not rocket science, it’s just about explicitly teaching it.” Now, Colglazier regularly replaces multiple-choice or short-answer questions with activities that require students to mimic the experience of online research.He’ll ask a broad question and send them to an article that may not be from a reliable site.He thought those historical skills would transfer to the digital space -- but he was wrong.“The hypothesis that it would just transfer for all is not true,” Colglazier said.Sam Wineburg, the Stanford professor who led the middle school study, is worried that everyone is “profoundly confused” right now and that schools aren’t doing enough to teach students the skills they need to be effective citizens and digital consumers.“We blame our kids for not knowing the difference between ads and news stories, but the kinds of skills we are talking about are not widely taught in schools,” Wineburg said on KQED’s Forum program while discussing his new book.LONGER TERM SOLUTIONS Sam Wineburg at Stanford doesn’t blame teachers for not immediately knowing how to teach these crucial digital media skills, but he hopes studies like his will prompt changes.In the short term he wants everyone -- adults and kids alike -- to learn to use the internet like fact-checkers do.So it’s even more important that students have tools they can use to make educated decisions about what they trust online. He, like so many teachers, feels pressure to cover all his content and keep to the pacing guides, but he also thinks students need fundamental digital literacy skills in order to continue learning history into the future.“Less is more and you have to cut content in order to make room to bring in the skills that you deem essential,” Colglazier said.