Checkology free to all educators, parents and students

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 11, 2020 — In an effort to ease the transition to remote teaching for educators and make developing news literacy skills as seamless as possible, the News Literacy Project is expanding access to its signature e-learning platform Checkology® by offering it free to educators and school districts as well as parents and students engaged in homeschooling. This browser-based platform is ideal for fully virtual and hybrid learning environments.

By removing barriers to access, NLP will support educators across the country with essential news literacy lessons at a time of urgent need. Misinformation about COVID-19, the upcoming presidential election and nationwide demonstrations against racial injustice has sown confusion, divided voters and put people’s lives at risk.

Checkology teaches young people to recognize and debunk misinformation, understand the vital role of a free press in a democracy, and become informed and engaged participants in civic life. Leading journalists, along with First Amendment and digital media experts, guide students through the platform’s 13 interactive multimedia lessons. (One foundational lesson is translated into Spanish.) Featuring real-world examples from social media and news sites, these learning experiences resonate with students, test their understanding and teach them critical-thinking skills. Checkology has been updated for the 2020-21 school year, making it even easier to use, with one-click integration, drag-and-drop lesson customization and in-platform support.

“In these challenging times, news literacy is more important than ever,” said News Literacy Project founder and CEO Alan C. Miller. “We are ending fees and making Checkology easier for educators to use  in ways that suit their specific needs and teaching environments. We hope this results in more educators teaching news literacy and more young people learning how to verify information and become more engaged with their communities.”

NLP on Flipgrid

In addition to free Checkology, NLP is partnering with Microsoft’s platform Flipgrid to help educators connect with more students through social learning. Teachers create “grids” around available topics, or develop their own topic material for the platform, with question prompts that students answer by video. NLP’s content includes various news literacy topics, many building on Checkology lessons, as well as activities for students, including fact-checking “missions” and misinformation “quests.”

To further support educators, and to build a community around news literacy education, NLP is also creating a national news literacy educator network. As part of this new educator network, NLP is training teachers, librarians and school administrators across the country to support a news literacy curriculum, help find opportunities for local partnerships and build channels of communication for their communities as local news literacy champions.

“Our goal is for our work to resonate with communities and educators who are doing the work to embed news literacy education at the local district level,” said Ebonee Rice, NLP’s vice president of the educator network. “We plan to connect with educators and district contacts who already love our programs and resources to help us spread the word to their colleagues and get them involved. Educators who live in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C., will serve as our first cohort of ambassadors.’’

Educators interested in becoming ambassadors can access NLP’s online application at www.newslit.org, starting on Aug. 17. The network will formally launch in January 2021. Questions about it can be submitted to network@newslit.org

Also on the horizon, NLP is reimagining its free e-newsletter, The Sift®, which publishes every Monday during the school year and resumes publication on Sept. 14. The newsletter provides educators with a roadmap to the most recent teachable moments in news literacy, featuring timely examples of misinformation and a look at media and press freedom issues. It includes discussion prompts, classroom activities and links to additional material.

About the News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.