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Nobel Prize laureates come together to teach strategies to fight disinformation

Updated on: 09 December,2021 08:24 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Nasrin Modak Siddiqi |

Nobel Prize laureates, experts and fellow teachers come together to teach strategies to fight disinformation in an effort to help students distinguish between facts and conspiracies

Nobel Prize laureates come together to teach strategies to fight disinformation

Karon Shavia, Chief Impact Officer, Idobro, speaks during the Nobel Prize Teacher Summit 2021, at a Bandra hotel, on Tuesday. Pic/Shadab Khan

Ever imagined a world without teachers? It would mean no channels to convey and preserve our knowledge, ideas and heritage. No medical and scientific discoveries, and no technology or economical progress either. The role of teachers is crucial in shaping young minds and therefore the society at large. That’s why, in this complex nexus of newsflashes, conspiracies, disputes, polarised opinions and distorted values, teachers are the only hope to help students fight disinformation, distinguish facts and make the world a better place to live in.

On these lines, an intriguing conference was held recently by the Nobel Prize Museum (Nobel Prize Academy, Stockholm), supported by the Swedish Institute and the Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai in association with Idobro Impact Solutions. The Nobel Prize Teacher Summit, themed ‘In the Flood of Facts’, had teachers at its core. A part of the Sweden India Nobel Memorial Week 2021, it saw more than 50 heads of educational institutes and teachers from the city. It had an exclusive live screening from Nobel Prize Museum, Stockholm, wherein Nobel Prize Winner Saul Perlmutter, eminent international professors from the Swedish Academy and Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and experts addressed the teachers and provided strategies to help students navigate towards knowledge and distinguish between scientific facts, personal values and conspiracy theories.

Anna Lekvall, the Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai, told mid-day that the idea behind the conference was to highlight the importance of this global issue and engage teachers into thinking of strategies and skills required to encourage curious questions and critical thinking among their students. “The role of teachers is crucial in fighting disinformation and through this hub, teachers across the world can ideate, learn and share strategies on how to navigate through and handle the situation in today’s age of information.”

Addressing the audience, Professor Ravindra Kulkarni, pro-vice chancellor of the Mumbai University, said, “In the age of social media, we often come across distorted facts that make us believe in wrong things. We need to distinguish between wrong and right. A teacher is a key player in the education system and as rightly said, without teachers, there would be no Nobel Prize. Knowledge has a great instrumental value, and in pursuit of knowledge, we, teachers, must know what materials must be utilised to impart the right knowledge. The world needs scientific breakthroughs and the pandemic has emphasised that more than before. We need critical knowledge to identify facts and farce. Teachers need to change their way of thinking, inculcate scientific temper, stay away from pseudo-science, check facts, work on collective critical thinking and be willing to learn as well as unlearn to share knowledge based on scientific knowledge and facts.”

Karon Shaiva, chief impact officer, Idobro, said, “As the youth are turning to social media and digital channels to source information, they are also increasingly being exposed to fake news and misinformation. The Nobel Prize Teachers Summit is focused on providing tools and solutions that will help teachers to deal with knowledge resistance. It will also enable teachers to guide students through ‘the flood of facts’ and create awareness based on scientific approaches and personal value systems.”

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