Digital Thinking Skills for Schools

Teaching children and young people how to make sense of the  information – and misinformation – at their fingertips.

Misinformation, fake news, conspiracies, hoaxes, scams…

 As children and young people increasingly turn to digital media for their information, they are more likely to encounter misleading narratives, bias and exaggeration. For better chances in life – and well-being – they need the skills to effectively evaluate what they see online. 

Only 2%

of 9-16 year olds have the critical literacy skills they need to tell if a news story is real or fake.

20%

of children age 8-15 believe everything they read on the internet is true.

More than half

of 12-15s rely on Google, YouTube or social media for ‘true and accurate’ information about things going on in the world.

About half

of 12-15s completely trust or don’t consider the reliability of information listed by search engines.

82%

of middle-schoolers can’t distinguish between an advert labeled 'sponsored content' and a real news story online.

More young people

than ever are using digital media as their main source of information.

Source: Children & parents media attitudes and use report (Ofcom, 2018), Fake news and critical literacy report (Commission on Fake News and Critical Literacy, 2018).

Too many young people are:

  • Unable to differentiate fact from fiction online

  • Susceptible to hate-fuelled agendas

  • Made anxious or scared by false news stories

  • Vulnerable to conspiracy theories, scams and hoaxes

  • Unable to access reliable information, useful resources or support online.

Learn more

“It is no longer sufficient to teach digital skills in specialist computer science classes to only some pupils… We recommend that digital literacy sit alongside reading, writing and mathematics as the fourth pillar of a child’s education.”

Growing Up With The Internet, House of Lords Report (2017)

“Distinguishing what is true from what is not true is a critical skill today… being aware that there is something that is written that is not necessarily true that you have to question is very important. This is something that we believe schools can do something about.”

Andreas Schleicher, Director of Education and Skills , OECD (2017)

“Many pupils lack the skills they need to identify fake news, meaning that they may experience increased anxiety, they may mistake false news for fact, and they may be negatively influenced by hateful agendas promoted online.”

Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy in Schools, Report (2018)

Essential digital thinking skills for years 4 to 9

Search

Using effective search techniques your students learn to locate relevant and useful information – whether they are researching a project, comparing colleges, or learning a new skill.

Question

Through questioning and curiosity students develop skills to evaluate the materials they see online – webpages, videos, text, images, memes or posts.

Understand

With a good understanding of how and why digital media is created and distributed your students will be better protected against online misinformation.

Learn more

Empowering young people to:

  • Extract reliable information from the internet

  • Critically evaluate search engine results

  • Differentiate between trustworthy and untrustworthy sources

  • Recognise conspiracy theories, scams and hoaxes

  • Deal with anxiety-inducing news stories

Learn more

Keep in touch with Digital Life Skills

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