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Giving Compass' Take:
• Emily Tate explains how the News Literacy Project is teaching students to spot fake news, reaching thousands of students across America.
• How can funders work to expand the reach of programs like this one?
• Learn why fake news wins on social media.
The News Literacy Project (NLP), which most often works with teachers of social studies, English-language arts, history and the humanities, developed a condensed curriculum on news literacy that teachers could use with students, Miller says. The journalists were one part of that.
Then, in May 2016, the project launched Checkology, an online, interactive course that helps students understand and appreciate the role of the press, introduces them to different types of news—from entertainment to opinion to branded content—and teaches them the critical thinking skills they’ll need to spot misinformation.
The arrival of Checkology coincided with a “huge sea change” for the way news and information were shared, Miller says. Many people, and especially the younger generations, started getting their news from social media, where misleading articles, made-up stories and conspiracy theories are packaged and presented the same way as any other piece of news.
“It’s only gotten far more challenging since I founded NLP, with young people having so much information literally right at their fingertips,” he says.
These changes have contributed to what Miller describes as a public health crisis.
“We face, by far, the most fraught information landscape in human history,” Miller says. “At the same time, what we’ve seen is that an inability to sort fact from fiction breeds distrust in quality news [sources]. It’s a fundamental threat to the health of democracy.”
Checkology—which has been used by more than 122,000 students in all 50 states, the NLP says—is designed to hit these issues head-on. The course is taught and led by real journalists, who, through short video clips, walk students through each lesson. (A shortened, four-lesson version is available at no cost, while the complete 13-lesson course costs a few dollars per student.) It weaves in current events, such as the NFL controversy over players kneeling during the national anthem, and gives students frequent opportunities to test what they've learned.
“One of the things students like the best about Checkology is it’s real world,” Miller says. “We do deal with contemporary issues—elections, immigration, police shootings. We don’t shy away, but we do have to handle it carefully.”
Read the full article about fighting fake news by Emily Tate at EdSurge.