Blended learning is an approach to education that combines the use of online educational tools and resources with traditional in-person, classroom teaching.
Tip #1: Take advantage of class settings.
How you set up your Checkology classes depends, in part, on your classroom and your model of blended learning. Here are some important class settings to consider when deciding what works best for your unique class setup:
- Video preference: Checkology videos are hosted on three different platforms: Vimeo, YouTube, and Wistia. When you adjust the video preference setting in your educator account, it changes which platform videos will stream from in student accounts linked to your classes. Ask your IT department to see which video hosting platform will work optimally on your local network and devices to ensure smooth streaming for you and your students!
- One-to-many lesson mode: This mode disables the video elements of assignments for students (except for those in an assessment question) so you can project or screenshare those videos from your educator account. This is especially helpful if you want to pause the video to add context or facilitate a class discussion.
- Course lock: This setting requires students to complete Checkology course lessons and activities in the order assigned. When toggled off, students can complete course assignments in any order. This can be helpful if a student joins your class later in the semester and you want them to be able to skip ahead. Turning off this setting can also allow for more student choice in your course. For example, you may want to give students a choice between completing the English-language and Spanish-language versions of "Practicing Quality Journalism."
- Co-teachers: You can add as many co-teachers as you want to a Checkology class. Co-teachers can manage students, evaluate submitted work and view the assigned course. Add any kind of collaborative teacher you want - librarians, media specialists, paraeducators, IEP case managers, etc. As long as they have a Checkology educator account linked to your school, you can make them a class co-teacher.
Tip #2: Encourage collaboration and sharing.
Whether your students are working at their own pace or learning Checkology content synchronously, having opportunities to collaborate and share can enhance their news literacy experience. Below are ideas for how to utilize features within Checkology or app smash with other apps/platforms to get students connected.
- Post a prompt to your class Discuss Wall. The Discuss Wall is a space where lessons and activities, along with other news literacy topics, can be discussed among all students in a class. You can utilize the default posts added by NLP or post your own questions for students to respond to.
Build in new opportunities to share and discuss Checkology content by app smashing. App smashing means using multiple apps/ platforms to create a product or complete a project or task. Check out the tabs below to see some examples of how to use Checkology with different apps/platforms to encourage discussion and sharing among students:
What is Flipgrid? Flipgrid is a simple, free, and accessible video discussion experience for learners and families.
- Create your own “topics” in your Flipgrid educator account using Checkology lesson materials to promote class discussion.
- Check out the News Literacy Project’s partner page for ready-made news literacy topics you can add to your groups.
What is Padlet? From your hobby to your career, your class notes to your final exam, your mood board to your runway show, padlets help you organize your life.
- Recreate Checkology questions using Padlet to let students see class responses.
- Create a padlet board where students can share tools and resources to help them fact-check information and find credible sources of information.
Tip #3: Use the Check Center to skill build.
Research, fact-checking and digital skills help students achieve a variety of learning objectives across content areas. Checkology's Check Center houses a wealth of tutorials and resources to help your students learn and practice these important skills. Here are a few ideas to bring to your blended classroom:
- Ask students to use the Quick Check feature to vet sources for an upcoming research project. The Quick Check feature guides students through a series of key questions and steps to help them check the credibility of a piece of content. The question prompts and steps change based on what type of information the student is investigating (text claim, image, video, image or video with a claim, and news report).
- Have students watch tip or skill tutorials in the Toolbox area to help set your expectations around digital and news literacy practices for the year. Students can have different readiness levels when it comes to digital and news literacy practices, such as how to use CTRL+F to quickly find a word or page on a website or how to do a reverse image search. These tutorials can help all students get on the same page and meet the demands of your curriculum.
- Have students watch a skill tutorial in the Toolbox area before starting a Check Center mission. Missions are engaging, fact-checking challenges that put students' verification skills to the test using authentic examples of information from social media and elsewhere online. While completing a mission, students will be prompted to utilize certain tools introduced to them in the Check Center.
Tip #4: Invite a journalist to your classroom.
Experts in the field can offer valuable insights about a profession and provide an authentic audience for student questions. The Newsroom to Classroom program brings journalists into schools — both in-person and virtually — to share their knowledge and expertise with students in their community, across the United States or around the world. To schedule a Classroom Connection with a journalist, all you need to do is send an invite through Checkology. You can use this Classroom Connection Planning Sheet to help you and the journalist prepare for the visit. Did we mention it's completely FREE?
Tip #5: See what your peers are doing.
No need to reinvent the wheel when you can connect with innovative colleagues. Here are some resources to learn how other educators are using Checkology to facilitate a blended learning experience for students:
- Join NewsLit Nation and post your blended learning questions to the forum. NewsLit Nation is NLP's News Literacy Educator Network. In addition to exchanging best practice tips in the forum, you can also enjoy perks and incentives to support you in your classrooms.
- Check out the article "Teachers share how they used Checkology in a challenging year." The 2020-21 school year was anything but routine for teachers and students all over the world. Unpredictability led to a mixture of remote, hybrid and in-person learning environments — with some classrooms experiencing all three. NLP asked several teachers to record short videos answering the question, “How did you use Checkology this past year?” Check out their responses in this article for even more tips on blended learning and news literacy!