23 TOOLS

Media Literacy Games, Tools, and Lessons

There's no doubt about it: Kids and teens are inundated with media messages. Given that it's tough now to even separate their digital lives from their "real" ones, kids are seemingly always plugged in and consuming something that's been created -- and mediated. This makes media literacy more important than ever.

But what is media literacy? While it continues to evolve, at its core media literacy helps students learn to find, consume, and create media critically. It should also help them understand how media is made, who makes it, and for what purposes. A lot of games, tools, and lessons are out there to help students build and practice these essential skills, but not all have kept pace with the changing world. On this list, we've curated those that have and that will help your students build critical and creative skills that will gain them mastery over thinking about and using media.

For more resources, check out our News and Media Literacy Resource Center.

Media Literacy Lessons

Project Look Sharp

Mighty media literacy resources powered by inquiry-based approach

Bottom Line: A thoughtfully-created collection of tools for teaching media literacy across the curriculum.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

ThinkCERCA

Structured literacy program inspires deep analysis, thoughtful writing

Bottom Line: This is an expertly scaffolded and pedagogically sound resource for developing critical reading and writing skills.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Paid

Get Media L.I.T.

Vibrant, quality comics anchor basic but good media literacy lessons

Bottom Line: The comics are impressive and the lessons provide useful conversation starters, but they'll likely need to be supplemented with additional material to be effective.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free to try

KQED Learn

Civic discussion site encourages media literacy and deep thinking

Bottom Line: This platform features excellent videos students will enjoy discussing, but teachers will need to prep students to make quality contributions.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

StoryMaker

Comprehensive civic media site supports youth voice and creativity

Bottom Line: This is a site that offers both actionable resources and an active community for student voice and civic engagement.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

CTRL-F

Up-to-date, expert-backed news literacy program builds needed skills

Bottom Line: These trusted lessons, a great fit for middle school, empower students to approach media more intentionally, but teachers might need to adapt.

Grades: 6–12
Price:

Digital Civics Toolkit

Superb, timely civics lessons focus on social media and student voice

Bottom Line: For teachers looking to make civics relevant to students, there's nothing else out there as extensive or relevant.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

Fandom Forward

Pop culture site promotes social justice critique, activism

Bottom Line: This site offers smart, fun resources for exploring the layers of meaning in media and finding causes to fight for.

Grades: 10–12
Price:
Free

Media Literacy Games and Activities

DocsTeach

Historical texts, interactive activities can promote critical thinking

Bottom Line: This text-rich app encourages students to conduct their own analysis of history, but the formats and graphics may prevent them from making a thorough analysis.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Most Likely Machine

Interactive experience quickly exposes algorithms

Bottom Line: This is an effective and well-designed intro to the dangers of algorithms and how we have to approach them with care.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

NewsFeed Defenders

Social media simulation builds news literacy skills

Bottom Line: This is a great tool to kick off critical discussions about news and social media.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Thinkalong

Civics site offers a PBS-guided approach to thoughtful debate

Bottom Line: This is a powerful framework for building critical media literacy, but teachers might need to bring in some extra perspectives.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

Media Literacy Tools and Resources

Pixton

Popular comics platform puts students' focus on creation

Bottom Line: This is a platform with the potential to motivate students, getting them to share subject knowledge in a way that blends art and literacy.

Grades: 2–12
Price:
Free to try

Edpuzzle

Crop, customize, and remix online video content with interactive tool

Bottom Line: This is a valuable tool that teachers can use to flip classrooms or support student-led creation.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Screencastify

Easy screen-recording tool facilitates outside-the-box instruction

Bottom Line: This is an instructional tool that could reinvent classroom workflow, especially for classrooms in the Google ecosystem.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Digital Public Library of America

Organized digital library features piles of useful primary resources

Bottom Line: DPLA is at the top of the list of high-grade, online primary source collections if teachers make effective use of what's on offer.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Free

Hypothes.is

Tool makes webpages and digital texts spaces of critique, discussion

Bottom Line: This tool opens up digital text and the web to analysis, annotation, and discussion, whether inside a classroom or with the world.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Photoshop Express Photo Editor

Top-notch photo editor helps perfect pics for creative projects

Bottom Line: This is a powerful, free creation tool from the industry leader in photo editing.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Sutori

Build timelines, embed media with cool storytelling tool

Bottom Line: With a super-simple design and tons of flexible features, this is an appealing and intuitive way for teachers and students to organize and share class content.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free, Paid

ThingLink

Add links, embed content in 3D environments with cool annotation tool

Bottom Line: With one-of-a-kind features and great flexibility across devices, this is a cool, fun way to reimagine how to present and share detailed information.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Miro

Interactive whiteboard lets users brainstorm, organize, and collaborate

Bottom Line: This beautiful and collaborative platform is useful for everything from workflow tasks to creative expression.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

Critical Media Project

Relevant media clips get students examining identity, culture

Bottom Line: Teachers will need to take time to build effective lessons, but if they do, this is a useful, relevant, high-interest resource for deconstructing identity and building critical thinking and empathy skills.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free

Gimp

Free, full-featured photo and image editing app impressive, daunting

Bottom Line: It's a great choice for students and teachers with needs beyond simple tweaking, cropping, and color correction, but requires significant self-directed learning.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free

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