CNN recently featured a story about Donald Leu, a University of Connecticut professor, who was able to convince students that an imaginary creature was in fact real. After directing his students to a website that features the pacific northwest tree octopus, students accepted that the creature was indeed real. Some even argued that the tree octopus was real even after he told them that it was all made up. After all, they saw photos of it on the internet, right? The University of Connecticut professor noted the need for students to be taught "online reading comprehension skills" and critical evaluation of sources. He went on to say that he did not feel the problem was necessarily a generational one, but that more critical evaluation skills are needed across generations.
As a media specialist with experience as a classroom teacher and reading teacher, I consider the task of teaching critical evaluation and transliteracy skills (literacy skills across different forms of print and media including the internet and technology tools) one that should be shared amongst classroom teachers, special area teachers and the media specialist... with the media specialist leading the way. It is a huge task, but a manageable one if we are intentional about it.