Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This column looks at "why people hold onto incorrect (and even dangerous) beliefs and what schools can do about it." The current pandemic is the obvious context. Maria Ferguson points to some well-known observations, for example, that "we trust other people to supply the evidence and describe it to us," and these other people sometimes lie. Also, there's "the phenomenon of confirmation bias." The obvious answer - which she explores - is that schools should focus on information literacy. But even so, she argues (correctly), "blindly ignoring facts and evidence is far less about stupidity and much more about human nature." Greed and self-interest lead people to ignore the data. So the hard (but most correct) response is that we should teach people to be less self-interested. Not an easy task in today's selfish age.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Nov 30, 2023 4:02 p.m.

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