Top Pick

Media-, News-, and Information-Literacy Resources for Students

After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the world seems to be waking up to what educators have known for a long time: media literacy matters, especially as it relates to the news, social media, and the web. While the definition and specific skills of media literacy (as well as its companions, news literacy and information literacy) evolve with the media and technology landscape, the core objectives remain: that through media literacy, students learn to find, consume, and create media critically and develop a mindfulness about how media is made, by whom it is made, and for what purposes it is made. There are a lot of tools out there to help students build and practice these essential skills, and on this list we feature some of the best we've found. You'll find great apps and websites broken down into three core categories: those that help students evaluate media, those that help them create media, and those that steer students toward factual sources.

Help Students Critically Evaluate Media

ThinkCERCA Visit Website: http://www.thinkcerca.com
Critical-reading program buoyed by high-interest texts, clear structure
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Digital Public Library of America Visit Website: http://dp.la/
Impressive online collection of historic and cultural artifacts
Grades 5-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Faking It Publisher: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
What did we do before PhotoShop? How pre-digital images were altered
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Hypothes.is Visit Website: https://hypothes.is/
Browser extensions add layer of annotation and discussion to the web
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
National Archives DocsTeach
Historical texts, interactive activities can promote critical thinking
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
checkology® Virtual Classroom Visit Website: https://checkology.org/
Go-to news-literacy site is an excellent primer on media issues
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Genius Visit Website: http://www.genius.com
Collaborative tool lets kids annotate songs, literature, news
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
PolitiFact Visit Website: http://www.politifact.com/
Independent website fact-checks political statements
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
The Republia Times Publisher: Lucas Pope
Unassuming editorial sim elegantly exposes the business of bias
Grades 9-12
Type Game
Price Free
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3

Give Students a Voice Through Media Remix and Creation

Aurasma Publisher: Aurasma
Augment reality with innovative, somewhat clunky tool
Grades 3-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
EdPuzzle Visit Website: https://edpuzzle.com/
Crop, customize, and remix online videos for your classroom
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Audacity Visit Website: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
Free online music-maker also a lesson in open-source software quality
Grades 5-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 3
Mozilla X-Ray Goggles Visit Website: https://goggles.webmaker.org/
Remix tool reveals code, can strengthen kids' understanding of the web
Grades 5-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Skitch Publisher: Evernote
Add a hint of fun to note-taking or annotating images
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 3
Explain Everything Classic
Powerhouse tool for creating stellar multimedia presentations
Grades 7-12
Type App
Price $7.99
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
MediaBreaker/Studios Visit Website: https://mbstudios.thelamp.org/
Free video-remix tool boosts media literacy, presents some challenges
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Vidcode Visit Website: http://www.vidcode.io/
Cool coding tool tuned to teen girls' passions aids creativity
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated

Build Students' News Literacy With Trustworthy Sources

News-O-Matic for School, 2016-17 Nonfiction Reading Publisher: Press4Kids
Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price $6.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
News-2-You Publisher: AssistiveWare
Draw kids into weekly news with powerful symbols and voice narration
Grades 2-6
Type App
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Newsela Visit Website: https://newsela.com/
Absorbing daily news stories offer kids just-right learning content
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Newseum Visit Website: http://www.newseum.org
Media museum's site mixes history and civics, teaches about journalism
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Youth Radio Visit Website: http://www.youthradio.org
A stellar take on the news from diverse kid journalists
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
KQED Visit Website: http://www.kqed.org
Great news and classroom resources support both teachers and students
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
The Learning Network Visit Website: http://www.nytimes.com/learning
Process current events through engaging NYT-style lens
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
NPR News Publisher: NPR
Top-notch digital content takes students beyond the airwaves
Grades 9-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Chrome, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
New York Times App Publisher: The New York Times Company
Easy access to news, but most content is available only to subscribers
Grades 9-12
Type App
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Chrome, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4