Fighting fake news: Inspiring critical thinking with memorable learning experiences

Stephanie A. Diaz, Russell A. Hall

Abstract

Despite fake news having a long and notorious history in the United States, it seemed like a brand-new phenomenon to many people during the 2016 presidential campaign. Four years later, we continue to grapple with the understanding that the fake news issue is a symptom of a perfect storm of political polarization, shifting U.S. demographics, labor market upheaval, the proliferation of social media use, foreign interference, and normal human psychology. With no clear solutions in sight, the battle against fake news continues. Fake news has many troubling implications for life outside of the academy, but it also has serious consequences for student learning. From the perspective of undergraduate students, it may seem that in this post-truth era, anyone with a cellphone can create news, journalists have ulterior motives, news organizations cannot be trusted, debate centers on reaffirming one’s worldview, and nothing is knowable because there is always evidence on both sides of an argument. Despite this, we believe learning experiences designed to be memorable can change students’ perspectives and make a lasting impression.

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Copyright Stephanie A. Diaz, Russell A. Hall

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