What is Thinkalong™?
Thinkalong™ is a free educational service of Connecticut Public, the parent company of Connecticut Public Television and Connecticut Public Radio, and the state’s only locally-owned media organization producing TV, radio, print, web and digital content for Connecticut’s wide-ranging and diverse communities.
Using Thinkalong™'s web-based, interactive format, students can practice thinking critically about current topics that directly affect their lives and communities.
Young people run into all matter of questionable content on the internet – opinions parading as facts, stories with manipulated data or images, political spin, and a galaxy of information to sort through. Thinkalong™ can help learners make sense of the 21st century media environment.
In this era, misinformation is undermining trust in journalism and negatively impacting civic engagement by undermining confidence in shared facts. According to a study conducted in 2015-2016 by the Stanford University History Education Group 80% of middle school students could not differentiate sponsored content from a news article, and 40% of high school students could not differentiate between legitimate and dubious sources.
Using public media content about newsworthy topics, question-based learning activities help middle and high-school students to think critically about media messages, develop informed opinions, and practice how to take a stand through respectful civil discourse.
Thinkalong was developed in response to input from educators who:
- Want their students to feel empowered and confident to develop their own voices and opinions.
- Seek digital platforms to expand on topics covered in the curriculum and the tight constraints of textbooks.
- Value active, experiential learning opportunities, as well as activities that can be adjusted to meet the needs of individual classes.
Thinkalong™ can be used in traditional or blended classrooms, in out-of-school youth groups and clubs, and in learn-at-home remote settings. Thinkalong™ is designed as a flexible resource to support individual, small group, and whole-class learning.
Who Should Use Thinkalong™:
Classroom teachers for grades 6-12; librarians, informal educators, and youth workers; youth ages 12-18; parents, caregivers, and homeschool leaders. The program is well-suited for use in remote or online learning.
How It Works:
At Thinkalong.org, educators will find a large selection of 45- to 60-minute learning modules that lead students through a process of investigating, contemplating, and debating a current event or topical issue. Modules cover topics related to STEM, human and civil rights, government and civics, and education.
Thinkalong™ uses a media literacy framework derived from the research of the Center for Media Literacy, which is also posted on the website as a series of five questions with some clarifications. This framework can be used to address any piece of media that a learner presents or an educator discovers that may be misleading, or it can help to evaluate the integrity or veracity of any media report or message.
Contact the Thinkalong™ Team at Connecticut Public. Email firstname.lastname@example.org »
From the Center for Media Literacy:
"Media Literacy is a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy."
"Civil Discourse is
- About listening and talking
- Each speaker's own responsibility
Civil Discourse is not
- Mere politeness
- An exercise in martyrdom
- About telling other people who they are
- Purely performative"
From the American Debate League:
A debate is an organized argument or contest of ideas in which the participants discuss a topic from two opposing sides. Those who agree with this statement or idea are the "Pro" side. Those who will not agree with this statement or idea are the "Con" side. Each side will show in an organized and clever way why they believe to have the right answers. They will use examples and evidence to support their ideas while working towards a conclusion.