Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fight Fake News: A @CommonSenseEd #MediaLiteracy Toolkit

Innovative educators understand that they play a crucial role in our democratic society. However, a teacher’s job to ensure students are informed and educated has taken on a new meaning in the age of the internet where information is everywhere but accuracy, quality, and bias often remain unchecked.

Media literacy is a topic innovative educators cover with students within the broader topic of digital literacy. However, during the 2016 election the focus on fake news and alternative facts sped onto everyone’s radar.  It was then that educators began to realize that students were not prepared to evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources (3B - ISTE Student Standards).

A study from the Stanford History Education group confirms this pointing out that “Our ‘digital natives’ may be able to flit between Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to evaluating information that flows through media channels, they are easily duped.

Fortunately, there’s help.

Common Sense Education has released their newest educator’s toolkit. The topic: News and media literacy. The toolkit is designed to provide educators with strategies to equip students with the core skills they need to think critically about today's media. The toolkit includes classroom-ready learning resources broken down by grade level. In it you’ll find the following educational content on news and media literacy:
  • Teaching tools and lessons by topic
  • Take-home student activities
  • Videos and interactive educational games
  • Supplemental materials for family engagement
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Materials available in multiple formats (low-tech and high-tech)

For teens there is also “Digital Bytes” where teachers are guided to provide students with interactive experiences on topics such as news literacy, internet hoaxes, and online tracking. For families there is a best-of list that looks at news sources that can be trusted.
Parents can use these kid-friendly sources as a jumping-off point to discuss how news is reported and how to be a critical media consumer. There is also a strand in Common Sense Education's Parent Concerns with articles, videos, and answers to questions about news and media literacy.

Innovative educators ready to get started are invited to join Kelly Mendoza, Director of Learning and Engagement at Common Sense Education, in a live webinar: News and Media Literacy: Building Critical Consumers and Creators. Kelly will lead participants on an exploration addressing these topics:
  • Why news and media literacy is more important than ever
  • Latest research on kids and news
  • What is “fake news” and how to spot it
  • Ways teachers can integrate news and media literacy into their curriculum
  • Rubrics you can use to assess students’ understanding of news literacy
She will also debut the new News and Media Literacy Toolkit. Those who join live will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with colleagues. The webinar takes place Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT. For more information visit:

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