Educators unsure: Can students identify fake news?

A new study finds nearly all education leaders are concerned about “students’ inability to gauge the reliability of online news.”

 

School Leaders and Technology
Education Week Research Center
February 2018

Technology is a useful tool for educators, but some worry students are spending too much time in front of screens and its repercussions. According to a national Editorial Projects in Education survey, most education leaders say students have the right amount of screen time in school. However, nearly all are concerned about students’ ability to identify misinformation online.

Researchers identified five issues worrying school leaders: social media use outside of school, cyber-bullying, students’ inability to gauge the reliability of online news, sexting and social media use during the school day. Almost all of participants were worried about students’ news literacy skills; that category had the lowest amount of “not concerned” respondents, at just 2 percent. Nearly half (43 percent) said they were “extremely concerned” about students’ inability to identify misinformation.

Key Numbers:

  • Ninety-five percent of school leaders believe students have too much screen time at home.
  • Most school leaders (64 percent) say students are spending the right amount of time using screens in schools.
  • Nearly all (98 percent) of respondents are concerned about students’ inability to identify misinformation. Educators reported being mildly concerned (19 percent), moderately concerned (36 percent) and extremely concerned (43 percent).

Study Details:

  • This nationally representative, online survey included results from 503 school-based leaders, such as principals, assistant principals and deans.
  • On average, respondents had worked in K-12 education for 22 years.
  • Forty percent of survey respondents work in rural schools, 39 percent work in suburban schools and 22 percent are in urban schools. More than half of leaders surveyed work in elementary schools.
  • The survey was administered in February 2018. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.