APPC and iCivics Team Up on Game to Teach Media Literacy

The Annenberg Public Policy Center, home of FactCheck.org and Annenberg Classroom, has partnered with iCivics, the education nonprofit founded by Sandra Day O’Connor, to create a free online game to teach media literacy and the precepts of journalistic standards.

The educational game, to be released during the fall 2018 election season, is designed for students in secondary school through adults. It will teach players strategies for approaching the news, including how to confirm information and identify misinformation. The game will challenge students to analyze news content such as articles, images, memes, and reader comments to ensure that the content is verifiable as fact, transparent, and unbiased — and teach them how to navigate gray areas that veer away from these standards.

In short, it will teach students and adults how to differentiate between news and “fake news.”

The partnership leverages the strengths of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) and iCivics, nonpartisan organizations that worked together previously to develop four games: Executive Command; Branches of Power; Court Quest, and Law Craft.

Students playing an online civics game. Credit: iCivics.
Students playing an online civics game. Credit: iCivics.

APPC’s project FactCheck.org has spent 15 years fact-checking politicians’ claims and viral misinformation. Another APPC project, Annenberg Classroom, provides teachers and classes with a free, comprehensive multimedia curriculum for teaching the Constitution. iCivics is the country’s largest provider of civic educational material and has created 19 games and hundreds of lesson plans to teach K-12 students the fundamentals of American democracy by using simulations to give students a first-person point of view on crucial topics such as elections, the roles of the executive branch, and the courts. Its games, which are completely nonpartisan, are available for free at iCivics.org.

“Our goal is to increase media literacy,” said Eugene Kiely, director of FactCheck.org, which recently won the 2018 Webby Award for best news and politics website. “It’s not always easy in the digital age to distinguish between fact and fiction. We hope to give people the tools they need to spot viral deceptions and reduce the spread of false information online.”

“Media literacy is a new core skill in the Information Age. Understanding how to consume information is foundational for our democracy to function properly,” said Louise Dubé, the executive director of iCivics. “This new game will help our youngest citizens make sound political choices in a challenging ‘fake news’ information environment.”

The game will be available free on the web and as an app for tablets through iTunes and Google Play.

About iCivics

Founded in 2009, iCivics is a nonprofit organization committed to transforming civic learning through effective and inventive resources. iCivics was founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to develop free educational video games and lessons that teach young Americans to be knowledgeable, curious, and engaged in civic life. iCivics’ game-centered curriculum provides students in grades 4-12 with the tools they need for active participation and democratic action. Today iCivics’ innovative resources are used by nearly 180,000 educators and more than 5 million students nationwide, making iCivics the largest classroom-based digital civics educational resource in the country. For more information, visit www.icivics.org.

About the Annenberg Public Policy Center

Founded in 1993, the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania is the home of FactCheck.org and Annenberg Classroom, which are dedicated to enhancing media literacy and civic knowledge. FactCheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. It has published a video and article showing voters how to spot bogus claims in the news and on social media and has partnered with Facebook to identify and label false viral posts. Annenberg Classroom provides teachers with a free multimedia curriculum to teach the Constitution to middle and high school students. Its resources include games, timelines, lesson plans and videos, including a dozen award-winning films produced by the Sunnylands-APPC Constitution Project, whose advisors include Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy.