Project Look Sharp, a program of Humanities & Sciences at Ithaca College, has developed a series of freeconstructivist media-decoding lessons that teach critical thinkingskills about COVID-19–related topics. All of the lessons apply the fair use of copyright law, so teachers can repurpose current media documents for critique and criticism in the classroom. For example, the media-decoding lesson “Misinformation About COVID-19: How to Figure It Out” is based on three short YouTube videos to teach essential knowledge about the coronavirus (and its “infodemic”), as well as habits of questioning information received through media sources. Questions in the lesson plan encourage students to discuss the purpose of each video, the credibility of the information, and the media techniques used to persuade and entertain viewers. In the lesson “Changing Our Media Habits: The Impact of the Pandemic,” students learn about and reflect on changes in media during the pandemic. This lesson uses charts, graphs, and illustrations from five sources as the key media texts. Another lesson, “Trusting Web Videos on COVID-19 (Or Not),” poses questions about each speaker’s purpose and ways to determine the speaker’s credibility on this issue. Students consider how different people might interpret the credibility of these messages.
In this ReadWriteThink lesson, students read or view a literary text, and then identify and discuss examples of propaganda techniques in the text. Students then explore the use of propaganda in popular culture by looking at examples in the media.
PBS affiliate WETA has made available a list of propaganda techniques that make false connections (such as the techniques of “transfer” and “testimonial”), or constitute special appeals (such as “bandwagon” and “fear”), or are types of logical fallacy (for example, “unwarranted extrapolation”).
The Mind Over Media web platform gives students aged 13 and up an opportunity to explore the subject of contemporary propaganda by hosting thousands of examples of 21st-century propaganda from around the world.