This month, local community newspaper The East Providence Post profiles the new information literacy course led by PCD Director of Library and Academic Technology Innovation Matthew Mena-Landry. The article was published in the "East Bay Life" section which is published in all eight of the East Bay Newspapers. If you missed it in print, read the full story, enclosed below:
Tech-savvy teens still need help on the internet
New information literacy course at Providence Country Day School to help students become experts in web credibility
It's a cultural norm that teenagers today spend hours online each day engaged with games, music, shows, and social media. What's largely unknown however is most youth lack the critical skills needed to navigate information on the Internet, according to a recent study led by Stanford researchers. From social media feeds to search results, students have trouble judging credible sources from unreliable ones and confuse original and sponsored content across news outlets, blogs, and other digital channels, as reported from the Stanford Graduate School of Education.
"When we Google, there could be 10 million results that address a search topic all from different angles or opposing viewpoints. Learning how to make sense of all that information can be challenging," says Matthew Mena-Landry, director of library and academic technology innovation at Providence Country Day School.
To help students better find, evaluate, and utilize information online, Providence Country Day School has introduced a new information literacy course beginning this fall. Led by Mena-Landry and formatted as a collaborative seminar, the interdisciplinary class incorporates information technology, journalism, civics, and digital media production focused on building students' abilities to find and interpret reliable and accurate information online. In the class, students will practice verifying digital content by analyzing its timeliness, content origin, and URL address, among other key factors.
"With the recent surge of misinformation or what some might call fake news, the media and technology landscape is becoming more complicated every day," says Mena-Landry. "Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use online."
The new course follows a national trend in secondary education to integrate new media literacy and digital citizenship curriculum aimed to expand students' abilities to collect and qualify resources online. From traditional research publications to trending hash tags, strengthening information literacy knowledge for youth is crucial as daily screen time expands and students continue to grow as primary media consumers and content creators.
"Whenever our students want to learn about anything, their first step is often Google. With our information literacy class, students will gain a new level of confidence in identifying reputable online sources, whether it's academic research or a personal interest in news, videos, podcasts, or social media. Their ability to curate quality content and then share, produce or add to it effectively is an invaluable skill."