New Jersey school students will learn to evaluate the reliability and accuracy of online information under legislation sponsored by Senator Michael Testa and approved today by the Senate.
New Jersey school students will learn to evaluate the reliability and accuracy of online information under legislation sponsored by Sen. Michael Testa and approved by the Senate. (Pixabay)
Under Testa’s bill, S-588, the State Board of Education would adopt New Jersey Student Learning Standards in the separate content area of Information Literacy to better prepare students to find reliable, useful content online and avoid invalid and deceptive materials.
“The Internet can be an invaluable resource for students at every grade level, but it can also be rife with misinterpretations, lies, and rumors that can be confusing or even dangerous,” said Testa (R-1). “The new standards will help develop young residents who can recognize false claims and have the skills to succeed in a web-driven world.”
The Information Literacy content area would include: teaching students about the research process and how information is created and produced; critical thinking and using information resources; research methods, including the difference between primary and secondary sources; differentiating between facts, points of view and opinions; accessing peer-reviewed print and digital library resources; the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information; and the ethical production of information.
“We know that data found online can be misleading and manipulative. There is no accountability, so it is crucial for students to learn to verify material and use it effectively,” said Testa. “The emphasis on information literacy will allow children to search efficiently, determine the legitimacy of those online sources and make the most of their time on the computer.”
The learning standards mandated by the bill would be developed by a committee convened by the State board of education, utilizing the expertise of certified school library media specialists, teachers, and Department of Education personnel.