Made by Sarah Morris and the NewsFrames team. Released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
75 minutes with optional extension activities
Lesson 2 of 3 in the NewsFrames Curriculum Kit
This lesson will introduce learners to Media Cloud tools and will provide activities and hands-on experiences where learners can further explore framing, gain skills in searching and in exploring search results and data, and learn ways to approach writing a NewsFrames story.
Mozilla Web Literacy Skills
21st Century Skills
Internet Health Outcomes
- Learners will develop search strategies to help them locate information
- Learners will explore strategies for aggregating and analyzing data sets
- Learners will use their search and analysis skills to explore framing issues across multiple sources and will reflect on the value of topic exploration in and of itself
- Learners will develop strategies for asking questions to explore the people, stories, and motivations behind frames
- Teens and undergraduate students
In this lesson, learners will:
- Discuss and define best practices for developing search strategies and asking questions
- Develop keywords to use when searching
- Explore their topic and test tools in the Media Cloud environment
- Reflect on their learning
- Familiarize yourself with NewsFrames introductions and materials linked in Lesson 1.
- Familiarize yourself with the Media Cloud environment.
- For an overview of using Media Cloud, see the How to Create a Reframed Story guide from NewsFrames.
Activity Facilitation Tips
- Try running some sample searches in Media Cloud to familiarize yourself with the environment.
- You can also divide this lesson into smaller chunks to be completed over a series of class sessions.
- Be sure to factor in some time to have your students register for accounts with Media Cloud. This way they can save their searches. You could send out the link to have students register to accounts before your class as a way to save time.
Lesson Introduction20 minutes
Opening Activity: Worst Questions Ice-Breaker
- Divide everyone into pairs
- Have each person share something they enjoy such as a hobby, a favorite subject in school, or a TV show
- Each partner will then ask the worst possible question they can think of to learn more about their partner’s interest
- Encourage students to make their questions vague, confusing, rambling, off-topic, etc.
- Bring everyone back together and have them discuss what makes a good question, now that they have considered the opposite.
- Emphasize that the class will be thinking about how to ask good questions in order to explore a topic and framing issues.
Opening Activity and Discussion
- Complete a think, pair, share activity with your learners, where they think about a prompt, share with a partner, and then engage in a full class discussion.
- Activity prompt: How do you find information and refine a search? Where do you go to find information, and what steps do you take if you are not finding what you need?
Discuss tips and strategies on developing keywords to help you find information on a topic, and have students share their tips, strategies, and experiences. Emphasize the following tips to students:
- If you are not finding enough material you might need to broaden your search by using more general search terms or by searching for related topics.
- If you are finding and overwhelming amount of information you might need to narrow your search by using more specific search terms or looking at a specific person, place, time period, etc.
- Remember, you can always look for contrasting frames when searching, including differences between frames at the local and national level and in different types of media outlets.
Lesson Activity55 minutes
Developing Keywords Activity
Give everyone a Topic Exploration Worksheet to record their notes and ideas.
- Have students return to their topic of interest from the last lesson.
- Have students do some more searching and brainstorming around their topic. Have them write down trends they are seeing in terms of topic coverage, questions they have, words they are seeing repeated, and any framing issues they are noticing.
- Have students develop keywords that they can use to find information on their topic. Tell them to write down their ideas and to include both broad and narrow keywords as well as related terms since people might refer to their topic in different ways.
- Have students share their topic and keywords with a partner and get feedback.
Media Cloud Overview
Media Cloud has different search tools you can use to explore topics. This lesson will introduce learners to the Explorer tool, which gives you a broad overview of a topic.
- Use Media Cloud’s built-in examples to demonstrate how searching in Media Cloud works in the Explorer tool.
- Discuss how Media Cloud results can help you explore framing in a topic and craft a narrative on framing itself since it gives you a broad overview of a topic across time and outlets.
Individual Searching Activity with Media Cloud Explorer
- Have students use the Explorer tool to explore their topics.
- Have students use the Topic Exploration Worksheet to guide them through the process of using the Explorer Tool and exploring their topic. The steps were adapted from the Reframed Story Checklist on NewsFrames.
- Have them take notes and review their results and note trends they are seeing in the framing of their topic.
Optional Activity 1: Topic Mapper
- Topic Mapper lets you take a deeper dive into investigating a topic. Topic Mapper is a tool that likely works better for undergraduate students and/or students who have more experience working with datasets and data analytics.
- Have students review the introductory materials for Topic Mapper and familiarize themselves with the environment.
- Have students use the Topic Mapper tool to explore their topics.
- Have them take notes and review their results and note trends they are seeing in the framing of their topic and in their Topic Mapper results.
Optional Activity 2: Word Cloud Interviews
- Have students save one of their word clouds from the Explorer tool.
- Have students share their word cloud with someone (this can be the same person from Optional Activity 1 in Lesson 1, or a new person).
- Use the NewsFrames Analyze Word Cloud interview questions to guide this interaction.
- Have students report back on how their interviews went and what they learned.
Reflection and Assessment
Reflection questions for learners
Next activity→Lesson 3Return home→Home
- What are some strategies you can use to refine a search that isn't working?
- What are ways you can use a broad overview of a topic across time and outlets to explore your topic?