EP216 How to be an informed media consumer + advocate for truth (with the News Literacy Project)

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By Angela Watson. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

investing in our own news literacy is one of the best things we can do for kids. But with so much disinformation, how can we as educators ensure what we're finding and sharing is accurate?

Join me as I talk with Peter Adams. He's the head of the education team of the News Literacy Project, a national education nonprofit offering nonpartisan programs that teach students how to know what to believe in the digital age.

We'll begin by talking about why information (and misinformation) is more prevalent. Peter gives a brief overview of how extremists of all kinds have become better networked and influential, and how hate groups and conspiracy theorists have leveraged our polarization to promote their own agendas.

Then we discuss:

  • How we can identify point-of-view or propaganda in our news sources
  • Why objectivity does not mean staying neutral
  • What's actually news-worthy ("How come the media isn't talking about this?")
  • The difference between a conspiracy and conspiracy theory
  • Intellectual humility and not demonizing everyone on "the other side"
  • Looking for disconfirming evidence of our beliefs
  • Having open, offline conversations with people who think differently
  • What it means to "do your own research"
  • Overcoming cynicism and relentlessly pursuing truth
  • How social media and search engine algorithms shape our thinking about what's true
  • How educators can ensure they're relying on and sharing accurate info
  • Why investing in our own news literacy as educators is one of the best things we can do for kids

For ongoing support in these areas, you can sign up for The Sift, a free weekly newsletter for educators distributed by NewsLit.org. It's a rundown of what happened the week before that you can use in the classroom to teach news literacy. It includes a distillation of the most news-literacy-relevant pieces of news and information that were published the previous week to help educators stay informed. It also includes a Viral Rumor Rundown of about four or five viral rumors that circulated the week before, with ideas for discussion, classroom activities, and links to resources.

NewsLit also offers a free e-learning platform called The Checkology Virtual Classroom, with 14 lessons to help teach students about many of the topics you'll learn about in my interview with Peter, including how to understand conspiracy theories. Checkology is primarily aimed at middle school and high school grades, but some teachers in upper elementary adapt the lessons and folks in higher ed have utilized them, as well.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

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