A pedagogy for epistemic agency in the judgment of accuracy and reliability

John Cripps Clark, Chris Rawson, Linda Hobbs, Christine Oughtred, Kathleen Hayes, Leissa Kelly, Julie Higgins


In an online environment rich in unmediated content, the ability to evaluate
sources of knowledge for credibility is a key component of digital literacy.
However, most instruction on judging the accuracy and reliability of
information relies on giving students checklists of criteria and this has only
fl eeting changes to skills and behavior. To have the fl exibility to productively
participate in a society awash with emerging and disruptive forms of
knowledge creation and distribution, students need to be taught the skills
to collaboratively develop their own criteria for evaluating the validity of
This paper describes a formative intervention, based on Vygotskian
principles, in which students confront contradictions in their practice as a
stimulus for their learning and development. A second stimulus is provided
by the collaborative creation of a mediating conceptual artifact, a tool for
accuracy and reliability of digital information, which is reformulated and
applied. Using such artifacts to evaluate the accuracy and reliability of
complex and problematic sources externalizes the generation of criteria.
This process nurtures students’ emerging identity as scientists through increasingly sophisticated decision making and metacognitive refl ection, and motivates students to embed more sophisticated, reasoned judgments.

Parole chiave

Digital literacy, epistemic agency, identity, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, double stimulation