While we’ve made progress in supporting students with digital literacy, citizenship, and using technology to support teaching and learning, one area where we haven’t kept up is news and media literacy. A Stanford study found that America's middle, high school and college students are shockingly bad deciphering fact from fiction or detecting bias. Educational companies are starting to rise to the challenge of addressing this issue. Last spring Common Sense Education released a #MediaLiteracy Toolkit in the which provides quality resources and is a good start with materials and resources.
For teachers looking for a complete curriculum, The News Literacy Project (NLP) has released the checkologyⓇ virtual classroom which they describe as a dynamic collection of digital news literacy learning experiences, student resources, and teacher evaluation tools. The platform contains interactive learning experiences for students hosted by real-world experts in areas of journalism, law, and social media.
I had the opportunity to do a hands on exploration of the platform lead by @PeterD_Adams who is the head of education at TheNewsLiteracyProject. I found the platform to be high-quality, engaging material that kept me glued to the lessons for hours. You literally feel yourself getting smarter when it comes to evaluating what you read, watch, and hear in the media.
The resource provides four modules with three to four lessons each. Each module takes about four class periods. Students earn a series of badges as they progress through each module.
Within the modules and lessons are interactive tools that students can use in their everyday life. The lessons within Checkology provide examples of real-world experts doing credibility checks on information they find. When they are done, they unlock the Check Tool which brings the modules together allowing students to use it to evaluate the credibility of any piece of news or information. The Tool is NLP’s signature process for determining the credibility of a piece of news or information. The process draws together and helps students synthesize the concepts and skills that they have learned throughout the core unit.
The student simply drops the url into the tool and then they can begin evaluating.
This is what the process looks like:
Here is what a student sees when they drop a url into the tool:
Within the check tool, students use interactives like the bias checker to measure credibility.
Students also use what they learned about info zones to identify that type of resource they are evaluating.
Once they complete the process, the piece they are analyzing receives and overall credibility rating.
By now, you are probably wondering what the subscription fees are for the basic and premium memberships. The basic membership, one-to-many is available free of charge. The premium membership which gives all students accounts and enables them to access modules on their own, is also free...for only for the 17 - 18 school year.
This video gives you a good overview of the platform with some classroom insights as well.
So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go register for Checkology. If you register without an access code, you will be asked if you would like to upgrade. Click “Upgrade” and fill out the simple form. Then watch your email for a unique access code for your school that unlocks Premium features. Also, check your junk mail or clutter. That’s where I found my email.
Once you’re ready to get started check out the educator’s guide. The guide will help you understand how best to use the platform with your students. It will also give you tips and ideas for blending its features and content with classroom instruction so you can achieve your desired student outcomes as well as how to resolve common problems.
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.