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Digital Survival Skills Module 1: My Media Environment

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Task 1: Today’s Information Landscape

Students consider the effects of the shift in media production from the pre-internet world, when a small group controlled media content, to today’s Information Age, when anyone with access to a device and the internet can create and share content with a wide audience.

Materials: Student Handout | Student Survey (optional)

Note: if you plan to complete all modules, we suggest introducing the culminating project briefly at the beginning of Module 1 so students know what the end goal is. See Module 4 for introduction materials.

1. Students use the Student Handout to select all the places they get their news, then share out responses to the class. Teacher or student tallies responses on the board so the class can see which sources are most used.

Alternate Options:
- Students do this digitally by filling out the Student Survey
, then teacher or student displays results in a bar graph.
- Teacher or student leads a whole class brainstorm to come up with information sources instead of using the list provide.

2. Teacher or students cross out sources that weren’t available 50 years ago. This will leave TV, radio, family/friends, school, (print) news and magazines, and any other offline information sources. Students consider the following questions through written reflection on the Student Handout, small or large group discussion, or a combination.

  • What information sources were available 50 years ago? How does this compare with the sources available today? What are the pros and cons of this shift? For each time period, think about:
    • The amount of news information available
    • Who decided what was published
    • Peoples’ ability to find credible information
    • How these things affected people’s shared understanding of the world

3. Students watch the first part of the Crash Course episode Introduction to Navigating Digital Information, from beginning to 7:43, to review main points about the shift in how we find, share, and produce information. Ask them to listen for how the media environment has changed and some of the cons that come with that shift.

4. Students complete the exit ticket on the Student Handout to summarize what they learned about the pros and cons shifting media environment.