IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Helping young people to recognise and challenge online conspiracy and misinformation

19 April 2024

Professor Arthur Chapman joins the Commission on Countering Online Conspiracy in Schools launched this week by the Pears Foundation and Public First.

Dr Arthur Chapman in front of a white wall. Image permission: Arthur Chapman.

Professor Chapman is Professor in History Education at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, and is the current Head of the Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment.

The Commission has been launched to investigate how online conspiracy theories, as well as misinformation and disinformation, are manifesting in classrooms. The project will use qualitative and quantitative research with students, teachers and parents to find out how each group understands the problem and how they think it should be tackled. The Commission will also hold a number of expert evidence sessions.

"It's an honour for IOE to be involved in this vital work and we are delighted that the Pears Foundation and Public First are driving evidence-based inquiry forward on this crucial issue", said Professor Chapman.

"We live in an increasingly toxic narrative environment and it is hard to overstate the importance of understanding the impacts of conspiracy theories on young people and the importance of better understanding how schools can educate young people to identify and challenge conspiracy theories and other threats to democracy and civility."

Sir Mufti Hamid Patel, CEO of Star Academies and co-chair of the Commission, said: “School leaders and teachers know just how pressing an issue online conspiracy and misinformation has become in the lives of the young people we educate. But we need to know more about the problem, and how we, as educators, can support our students to better understand the stories they are presented with, and differentiate them from reality."