Knowledge and Approaches to Teach Socio-Scientific Mis/Disinformation

The flood of socio-scientific information on issues like pandemics, climate change, and natural resource scarcity represents just three of the critical global challenges facing our world today.

These issues are often entangled with misinformation and disinformation spread through digital and social media, which by default exacerbates the problems by disseminating lies much faster than the truth. This dynamic has profound implications for how individuals process, evaluate, and criticize the accuracy of information.

Education should take the lead in teaching students how to tackle the spread of misinformation and disinformation regarding socio-scientific issues. Teaching students to assess the reliability of information sources is highlighted as a new skill set within the 2025 OECD PISA framework, which aims to equip students with the competence to research, evaluate, and apply scientific information for making informed decisions and taking action.

At the same time, teachers also need to be equipped with the competencies required to assist students in becoming critically aware of socio-scientific information, and previous research argues that facilitating teachers with continuous professional development to enhance their professional knowledge and updating what they have already acquired is addressed as an important component needed to support teachers in today’s educational landscape and the teaching profession.

However, this leaves us with limited knowledge to understand what professional knowledge and pedagogical approaches teachers require and how professional development programs for teachers should be designed and implemented to facilitate teachers learning and support the development of their professional knowledge and pedagogical approaches in teaching students about socio-scientific mis/disinformation.

This PhD project aims to explore the overarching units of teacher learning, their professional knowledge, and the pedagogical approaches required to effectively teach students about socio-scientific information. The project also aims to develop, implement, and evaluate professional development programs that enable teachers to be well-prepared to educate students with the competencies and abilities to critically engage with ongoing socio-scientific information. 

This PhD project is conducted as part of the SciLMi research project: Meta-Scientific Literacies in the (Mis-)Information Age, a Teacher Academy project funded by the EU's Erasmus+ program.

Main supervisor: Wilfried Admiraal, OsloMet.

Co-supervisor: Rolf Steier, OsloMet.

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