Today’s quick ideas
for lessons, projects

April 13, 2020

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Digital Earth Day on April 22 celebrates 50th anniversary.

For students interested in combining journalism with science and public engagement, you can find lots of background, sample lessons, and links to further research here.

 

Build community with targeted news digests.

We can’t rely on any one or two platforms to reach our readers, particularly when our readers are not on campus but ARE online, maybe more than ever. News digests, particularly ones that go out every day and that highlight news that your students KNOW their peers need and want, are a targeted way to combine news gathering, media literacy, community-building, and online skills. Check out this link to see a post from Northwestern University’s school of journalism for some of the theoretical background.

Daily or even weekly news digest emails basically require just a few things: content (generated/curated by student journalists) and readers (through your site and/or email addresses, with the opportunity for anyone to subscribe). You can start small and depend on “horizontal engagement” to grow your mailing list, and there are free services students can use to manage it all. The key is to provide facts/news, curated for YOUR audience, and to do it regularly.

A way to test the waters is to start with a news digest that highlights your OWN SITE, perhaps each Monday… like a “here’s what you may have missed last week.” Of course, readers only see it if they check your website. But with all your coverage currently online, this can be a great way to highlight your top posts.

An emailed daily news digest will likely be overwhelming for just one editor to take on, but creating a schedule, with a clean, efficient template, and perhaps add a layer of editing that helps keep the digest’s “voice” consistent, might be something that not only connects with remote learners now, but creates a habit that will linger into the next school year.

CSMA has a version of a news digest, focused on what the association if offering, upcoming deadlines, occasional teaching tips, etc., through SMORE, for which many schools may already have licenses. It is sent to advisers on our mailing list each Thursday. You can check it out here.

 

PBS offers series “Who Are We?”

The full title is American Portrait: Who Are We? and the first online discussion was April 7, and will be followed by three more, one per week. Their goal is to help teachers from a wide range of specialties find some themes to consider during our pandemic. Some of the ideas are directly applicable to media classes, and all of the content connects to your interest in how media can help connect our communities.

Here is the splash page for this series. You can access recordings of each discussion there, and you can register to participate “live” in each online Zoom meeting.

The four episodes planned are titled: We are helpers. We are listeners. We are creators. We are witnesses.