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Bright ideas in nonprofits: teachers


There are many reasons to become a teacher, not the least of which is the chance to prepare students for the world that awaits them.

Beyond cornerstones like reading and writing, and math and science, an understanding of how to be a critical thinker is one of the most important skills a teacher can impart. But how best to do it and show students the relevance that critical thinking skills can have in their everyday lives?

bright idea_teacher_female_highschool_college_student_learning_lab education

This is where the News Literacy Project (NLP) can lend a hand. The NLP is a national education nonprofit offering nonpartisan, independent programs that teach students how to know what to believe in the digital age.

According to the NLP, there are more than 11,700 teachers in all 50 states and in 86 countries using the curriculum – and that includes Erin Milburn, an English teacher in Mercer County, Kentucky, who deployed the NLP’s Checkology virtual classroom to help her students sort fact from fiction. Students responded with comments like “This type of learning made me think outside of the box and deeper than I normally would” and “This is a skill that will help me greatly through college.”1

Essentially, it teaches students to think critically about the news and information they encounter every day

Meanwhile, over in Damariscotta, Maine, reading teacher John Cannon is using Checkology to help middle school students at Great Salt Bay Community School consume online information more thoughtfully. Parents have praised the program’s impact on the students, saying “They’re going to be able to look at [news and information] with a different set of eyes.”2 EDUCATION_bright idea_teacher_student_books_learning Checkology’s browser-based, tablet-friendly, “virtual classroom” provides students in grades 5-12+ with engaging, interactive lessons on news literacy. Essentially, it teaches students to think critically about the news and information they encounter every day so that they can be smart consumers and engaged, well-informed participants in civic life. Having that sort of positive and long-lasting impact on students isn’t just a compelling reason to be a teacher – it’s a reason to love teaching. The lesson for teachers? When it comes to passing along important life skills to students, a helping hand might reside in a virtual classroom just a click away.
[1] Finding the Facts, Students Use Checkology E-Learning Platform. Retrieved from
[2] Mills, Lindsey. (2018, February 2). Filtering fake news; how Maine schools are teaching kids. News Center Maine. Retrieved from
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