Allison Brungard and Kristin Klucevsek offer the following preview of their chapter, “Reconstructing Scientific Literacy through Metaliteracy: Implications for Learning in a Post Truth World,” appearing in the forthcoming book, Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World, edited by Thomas Mackey and Trudi Jacobson.
Science now exists in a wide range of digital contexts. Scientific information can be shared through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and user-generated communities such as YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, and Wikipedia. These platforms can help disseminate scientific information to the wider public, but they also can spread misconceptions and distortions. In our post-truth world, this has a strong impact on scientific literacy, with downstream implications for health, politics, and the environment. We also encounter effects of this post-truth world in our classrooms as we work to build stronger literacy skills with our students. The need for learners to critically examine and reflect on what they encounter in these participatory online environments is crucial. To improve scientific literacy, learners must develop the metacognitive processes necessary to discern fact from fiction. As teachers, we must re-examine competencies for scientific literacy in this post-truth, digital world.
In this chapter, we address the challenges of scientific literacy within the larger framework of metaliteracy. With an emphasis on the four domains of metaliterate learning, we align scientific process with metaliteracy competencies to enhance scientific literacy. We explore the impacts of current events and education on scientific literacy, as well as the relationship between social media and personal biases through which scientific facts can be misconstrued. We also focus on strategies for academic librarians and disciplinary faculty to infuse metaliterate objectives in their teaching, curriculum, and research. Reflective and participatory learning can move learners beyond the consumption of information and towards critical thinking, research, and writing. This encourages learners to also be content producers, with the ability to understand the most effective ways to use science in their daily lives