News Literacy and Mind Maps
Experiential Approach: News Literacy with Group Minds Maps
Students need to learn to distinguish between good-faith (but imperfect) mainstream media and bad actors that call themselves “News”; between experts, celebrities and politicians who are awarded platforms for different reasons but all treated as authorities. When teachers share articles, they should point out the markers of good journalism, including but not limited to bylines and cited sources.
Occasionally, teachers may also bring in articles from supermarket tabloids or “bad faith” online sources that peddle propaganda as news, like Fox News commentators do, and if students do not notice the difference, point out the markers of misinformation.
Cop shows often show “evidence boards” that feature a collage of media from different sources, pinned to a pinboard or stuck to a wall, and frequently interconnected with string to mark connections. When engaging deeply (as a unit, not a one-off) with a polarized question, creating and building mind-maps using online tools like Lucidchart can give the entire class an opportunity to pool what they know and learn from each other.
There are many News Media Literacy curricula and products that teach students about markers of good journalism and markers of misinformation, and games where students must pick out misinformation from a pair or feed of articles. A deeper approach is to learn how investigative journalists prepare a story for publication.
Concept Formation Candidate: News Literacy Project’s “Checkology”
Students need to distinguish between good-faith (but imperfect) mainstream media and bad actors that call themselves “News”; between experts, celebrities and politicians who are awarded platforms for different reasons but all treated as authorities. This is where each of the different literacies come to bear.
The News Literacy Project’s Checkology is a media-rich collection of lessons and tools that teach students how to navigate today’s challenging information landscape. Students watch expert testimony in videos, look at marked-up digital artifacts, and explore an array of misinformation examples as they learn how to identify credible information, seek out reliable sources, and apply critical thinking skills to separate fact-based content from falsehoods. They practice habits of mind and tools to evaluate and interpret information as they develop an understanding of the importance of the watchdog role of the press.
Although Checkology is designed as an individual activity for students, teachers can run Checkology lessons as whole class or small-group activities, taking opportunities to comment, question, and connect them.