Teachers' views on disinformation and media literacy supported by a tool designed for professional fact-checkers: perspectives from France, Romania, Spain and Sweden

SN Soc Sci. 2022;2(4):40. doi: 10.1007/s43545-022-00340-9. Epub 2022 Apr 9.


The current media eco-system has become more and more polluted by the various avatars of "fake news". This buzz term has been widely used by academics, experts, teachers and ordinary people, in an attempt to understand and address the phenomenon of information disorder in the new media environment. However, studies have rarely questioned what teachers, key stakeholders in the media literacy field, actually understand by "fake news", and to what extent the new digital tools available to fact-check are actually viable solutions to fight disinformation actively. In this context, we conducted focus groups (N = 34 people interviewed in 4 focus groups) with teachers in four countries (France, Romania, Spain and Sweden), in order to assess their understanding of "fake news", as well as their perception of possible measures to combat the phenomenon, with a particular focus on digital tools. The findings show that the understanding of the concept of "fake news" differs from one country to the other, but also within the same country, with a common feature across countries: intention to deceive. Additionally, respondents identified lack of media and information literacy (MIL) in education as a major gap for combatting information disorders. Furthermore, they find that the use of digital tool for professional fact-checking needs to be repurposed or followed by pedagogical instructions to fit into the complexity of educational practices. Our findings highlight possible solutions for MIL in education using a combination of technocognition and transliteracy as theoretical framework and scaffolded pedagogical design for better adoption of fact-checking techniques.

Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s43545-022-00340-9.

Keywords: Disinformation; Fact-checking tools; Media and information literacy; Teaching and learning; Technocognition; Transliteracy.