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Courageous Conversations

Why Media Literacy Matters

Confront the many forms of disinformation, hoaxes, and propaganda that are part of everyday life. Experience the practical power of strategies for critically analyzing media messages that shape public opinion about education. Consider the power of media literacy as a civic skill and examine how people of all ages learn to spot disinformation and hoaxes. 

What is media literacy and

how can it help people to respond to disinformation & hoaxes?

Listen In

Learn about media literacy and why it is important. Then examine a TikTok video and discuss: 

  • What type or form of media is this? How do you know?

  • What feelings does this article evoke in you?

  • What are the main ideas?

  • How might different people interpret this message differently? 

Discussion Support Tools 
Bring this discussion program to your school or community

🍎 Why Media Literacy Matters Lesson Plan.  Learn how to offer an introduction to media literacy that helps people learn how to critically analyze any media message using critical questions.

💙 Make a copy of the Google Slide Deck for this topic.  You can then edit your copy as needed.

❤️ Video SummaryLearn how to use the critical questions of media literacy to critically analyze a TikTok video. 

Reading and Discussion. Learn how hoaxes have been used in a coordinated and strategic way to increase public anxiety and promote fear.

Planning Guide. Everything you need to offer a Courageous Conversation in your community. 

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For Educators  
Address RI state standards with curated curriculum resources 

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SL.X.1  Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


H.HP.2: Explain the purpose, audience, and perspective of multiple types of sources (art, music, oral histories, pamphlets, film, texts, etc.) relating to a historical event or series of events, individual, or group of people, including indications of bias toward or against the subject portrayed.

H.HP.3: Analyze multiple types of sources, including art, music, oral histories, pamphlets, film, texts, etc., through a critical reflection of the creators’ and students’ intersectional identities and lived experiences.

🌈 Listening Matters. Learn about empathic or reflective listening and practice it in a real-life situation. 

😎 Curated List of Resources. Get inspired with these great resources for teaching and learning -- if you have only 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 60 minutes. 

📌 Creative Expression Activities.  Simple and engaging ideas help advance students' creativity and collaboration. 

What You Can Do

Keep Learning

Start with Yourself 

Being media literate will help you better protect yourself from potential harm caused by mediated communication. Today it is essential to recognize how conspiracy theories and other kinds of misinformation may propel certain individuals to engage in acts of violence.

How Media Literacy is Being Taught in Schools

What do parents need to know about how media literacy is being implemented in American schools?

Media Literacy Smartphone

Learn more about the Media Education Lab's tool for helping people internalize critical questions of media literacy and download the free learning guide. 

How School Rumors Go Viral 

Learn more about how rumors and hoaxes have become more political in recent years. 

Time to Focus on Unity

Are you ready to stop focusing on the painful divides in our country and to turn the dialogue back to our common humanity? This will require looking past the battle lines, asking lots of questions, really listening to the answers, and finding ways to make our voices heard by our elected leaders.

Seditious Conspiracy

As we take on preventing domestic terrorism, we should not lose sight of the role that hate speech and conspiracy theories are playing in stirring up violent extremism. Militias multiplied and hate crimes increased substantially with the election of our first Black president. The birther movement spread the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not an American and that he was going to take away our rights and our guns.

Rhode Island Civic Learning Week 

Learn about the many programs that encourage civic engagement as an essential part of  self-governance in a democracy. 

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