Recommendations from FNF

The Challenge of Selecting Curricula

Fake News Fitness is developed by progressive educators in Massachusetts. We work in schools that are members of the Expeditionary Learning network (now EL Education). The lead developer is a career educational technologist and proponent of student-centered, constructivist learning, approaches that characterize EL schools. Whenever appropriate, we look for ways to give students agency to lead discussions, design projects, and produce high quality work portfolios shared with families and peers.

We do not wish to limit the reach of Fake News Fitness only to teachers in EL or similar schools. What follows are general recommendation for teachers preparing for a unit on misinformation, and then additional recommendations for student-centered classrooms.

General Recommendations

  1. Investigate your approach to online source investigation: how do you do it? (see Appendix: Activity Theory).

  2. Choose from a standards-based curriculum of lessons that fit grade level, school culture, and teaching style.

  3. Use the Fake News Fitness Chrome Extension for tasks that involve inquiry and analysis of web pages.

Student-Centered Recommendations

For EL and other learner-centered schools, we suggest supplementing the lessons with appropriate eLearning resources, long-form video-inspired student discussion and games:

  1. Pull lessons from Stamford's Civic Online Reasoning, which puts media literacy in a Civics context.

  2. Watch 15-minute segments of The Social Dilemma and Trust Me to prompt student-led discussions.

  3. Explore and mix the News Literacy Project's Checkology lessons as teacher-led and individualized activities.

  4. Identify topics for student-led projects (a class publication, a community teach-in, an exposé of a current event)

  5. Break up the project work occasionally with a media literacy game like Agents of Influence to apply what's learned.

As specific recommendations, we are developing "packages" for Massachusetts EL teachers who are piloting our extension. Their experiences will lead to a version 3.0 of this guide (and our extension) that may be more accessible to other schools.

The Fake News Fitness Extension