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A Free Resource for News Literacy Lessons

by Lori Gracey
news literacy
Voiced by Amazon Polly

The ability to discern what is fact and what is opinion seems to be more in demand today than ever. Regardless of politics, it is important to develop news literacy. And that is a skill that must be taught; it is not developed naturally on its own. So how can educators ensure that their students have news literacy practice that is reliable and unbiased? Fortunately, Checkology has the answer.

What Is Checkology?

Checkology was created by the News Literacy Project, a nonprofit organization. It was designed to help “learners develop the ability to identify credible information, seek out reliable sources and apply critical thinking skills to separate fact-based content from falsehoods.” The lessons are aligned to a variety of state and national standards, including Common Core, Texas, and ISTE. Checkology also offers a completely free e-learning platform that houses the lessons and includes the following features:

  • Unlimited classes and student accounts
  • Numerous interactive, expert-led lessons
  • Dozens of practice, extension, and fact-checking activities to supplement the core lessons in a course
  • Preset courses to make it easy to get started
  • In-platform student supports (hints and vocabulary)
  • The Check Center, an opportunity to learn and practice digital verification skills
  • A comprehensive word wall, offering quick access to a glossary of news literacy terms
  • Class and assignment settings for flexibility in your learning environment
  • Educator ability to assign co-teachers to each section of students, enabling that teacher to also access and evaluate student work
  • Evaluation tools allow educators to see and access all work that a student submits through its lightweight learning management system (LMS).

news literacy

Checkology’s video-driven content is designed for middle school and high school students, but the platform has been successfully used with students from fifth grade through community college, as well as with adult learners. Each lesson, challenge, and exercise has a difficulty ranking meant to assist educators as they create a customized course for their students.

Getting Started

The Checkology website is open now for you to register. Learn how to get started with these resources.

Does Checkology Work for News Literacy?

Checkology has retained an outside evaluation consultant to develop a pre-platform assessment and individual post-lesson assessments to measure student growth for specific learning objectives. (When students first log in to the platform, they will be prompted to begin the pre-platform assessment. Students will not see the results and are not scored.) Student growth is impressive. After completing the lessons, nearly nine in 10 students could correctly identify the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment and two-thirds of them could correctly identify the traits of quality journalism. The study also showed that the number of students demonstrating an understanding of the watchdog role of the press more than doubled.

news literacy

Final Thoughts on News Literacy and Checkology

Checkology provides a strong educator help center with short video tutorials and other resources. In addition, their student privacy policy is available and very clear. If you are looking for news literacy lessons for younger students or just want to add to those from Checkology for secondary students, check out what Common Sense Education offers as a part of their digital citizenship curriculum. And the TCEA blog has a number of other free tools. Whatever resources you use, please make sure you are helping students to develop and practice this critical skill!

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1 comment

Marcia Garrison August 26, 2022 - 11:18 am

Thanks!

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