Help your students find reliable news sources

A recent Stanford University study showed that students at all grade levels have difficulty determining reliable news sources. The study showed that while students absorb media constantly, they often lack the critical thinking skills needed to tell if their news source is reliable. Two MIEs and Skype Master Teachers, Scott Bedley (California, USA) and Todd Flory (Kansas, USA), teamed up and invented “The News Challenge.” If your students like playing Mystery Skype, they are going to love this new Skype game!

News in the classroom

If you’re in a classroom and expecting your students to be able to navigate news, consider that researchers from Stanford University found that during the 2016 U.S. presidential election over 35,000,000 unsubstantiated news articles were shared on social media platforms. Students now have access to more information and media content than at any other point in history. So, how can we as teachers address this in an engaging way, which provides a purpose beyond the fact that we’ve assigned our class an activity to identify reliable news online? Through play!

Image of classroom of students participating in a Skype for the Classroom session.

“The News Challenge” over Skype

Imagine a game where the teacher presents an article found on the web or a print-out to the class. Students research and choose two real news stories and create their own false news story to challenge another group of students via Skype. The opportunity to choose reliable news stories of interest and the creative freedom to invent their own story excites students while increasing their skill of discerning credible news sources. The News Challenge can be found on the Microsoft Educator Community. Scott Bedley and Todd Flory developed a guide with instructions, tips, and tricks on how you can take your class through the process of developing the ability to become discerners (having the ability to judge well) in this engaging, collaborative game.

Image of smiling students huddled around a laptop computer and participating in the News Challenge over Skype.

So, if you want to continue your students’ process in developing their critical thinking skills, consider connecting on Skype and playing The News Challenge—it will not only engage your students but it will develop their critical and communication skills. The only regret you’ll have in adding this to your class time is that your class may start fact checking you.

Take up the challenge with your classroom and add some gamification to your lessons!

Teachers—Break down the walls of your classroom with Skype in the Classroom. If you are new to Skype, get started with an introductory call with one of our Skype Guide live connections, or take the Introduction to Skype in the Classroom course. You can also create your own Skype collaboration: take the Skype collaboration course and get ready to connect your students with classrooms around the world!

Parents—Ask your school to get involved with Skype in the Classroom, so your kids can experience the world live from their classrooms.