Schoolbooks Are Given F’s in Originality – New York Times (Via pondering.) Josh Thomas makes a point in this post that I make often when people ask how we can trust the wikipedia (and blogs etc). My answer is, “how can we trust text books?” Nearly every teacher has had a “well, the book says this, but really” moment with their students… and we’ve certainly seen serious revision of even American History texts over the years. I also ask what academics consider the highest form of authority in text… the answer is peer reviewed journals. The Wikipedia is the ultimate peer reviewed text – minus the expert editorial board, of course… but the same issues Josh brings up apply to editorial boards. Even heavily read and commented blogs are peer reviewed after a fashion – or can be depending on the author. Josh makes a list of skills “truly literate” folks should apply to any text:
The issue is the same, regardless of the text. Truly literate folks are able to:
1. Read, comprehend, and analyze the text
2. Referee its reliablity (who wrote? why? when? who paid for it? why? when? who edited it and/or gave it a stamp of approval? why? when?)
3. Reflect on it
4. React to it and communicate something of interest about it
It doesn’t matter what the text is, the skills are the same. But since we have access to so much MORE information, the stakes are higher than ever.