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A free summer seminar for experienced high school journalism advisers

From the 23 teachers who attended this workshop in July 2019, we have included Solutions Journalism Story Ideas, other Story Ideas for a whole range of topics and Tech Examples of something they learned, many of these for data visualization, plus some resources anyone can use in the future for these topics.

Gamifying Media Literacy in the Classroom

“Michael Lynch, a philosopher who studies technological change, observed that the Internet is ‘both the world’s best fact-checker and the world’s best bias confirmer — often at the same time’.” – Stanford History Education Group

While I am privileged enough to be able to teach a scholastic journalism course, yearbook, I spend a majority of my day teaching English 10 and Honors English 10. One thing that I was hoping to take away from this workshop was some ideas that I could use both with my yearbook staff in class AND my students in my English classes. While Megan gave us a great recap of the verification of sources and valuable information that Mandy Jenkins presented in her session, I wanted to find lessons and resources that any of us that teach classes other than Journalism can use along with the resources we use in our Journalism classrooms.

While we, as adults, can have trouble distinguishing what’s real from what’s fake online, students have an even harder time. This study from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education testing civil online reasoning (defined by the Stanford History Education Group as “the ability to judge the credibility of information that floods young people’s smartphones, tablets, and computers”) is a resource educators can use to understand students’ thought process when attempting to evaluate the credibility of online news, photographs, and infographics. 

TLDR; Students’ abilities to distinguish what’s real from what’s fake is crap. This article on NPR gives a summary of the results of the study and bleak the outlook for our students is unless parents, educators, and other adults teach them how to determine the credibility of online content. 

So what can we do about it?  

In the Bad News Game, your students will play the part of a “fake news-monger” whose aim is to spread as much disinformation as possible. Using the techniques of impersonation, emotion, polarization, conspiracy, discrediting, and trolling, the in-game scenarios are based on real-life examples, and is designed to help “innoculate” the public against the fake news “disease.” Additionally, an educator’s guide can be found here to help you determine how you’d like to use this in your classroom. I know I’ll be using them both in my English 10 courses and my yearbook course!

Do you have any activities to teach media literacy in your journalism courses or your general English courses? If so, please share in the comments!

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