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Is the internet a public utility? - Civil Discourse for Classrooms

Grade Level Grades 6-12
Resource Type Activity, Worksheet

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Thinkalong.org is a free, evidence-based interactive tool for students to develop media literacy skills by applying the 5 Key Questions of Media Literacy to public media content. Importantly, the tool does not require registration for teachers or students, abides by student privacy laws, and is advised by a board of both youth and educators.

Each module consists of:

  • a compelling and timely question;
  • related current and age-appropriate public media content including audio, video, and text;
  • extension resources for advanced or highly-interested students;
  • student graphic organizers;
  • a simple debate tool;
  • a teacher's guide to the module;
  • and a guide to the 5 Key Questions of Media Literacy.

This Teacher's Guide supports the Is the internet a public utility? module on thinkalong.org. Here is the full module and below is a summary.

Natural gas, water, and electricity are all public utilities, meaning they supply basic needs that all communities require to live comfortably. These public services are regulated by the state or federal government. When a community’s needs for public utilities go unmet, residents face immense hardship, especially economic challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools and workplaces to transition to remote learning and work, which almost always requires internet access. Disparities in broadband accessibility has become more apparent, and many struggle to afford reliable online access. Should the internet be included among public utilities?

To use this module with learners in any setting, we recommend using one of the structured discussion formats outlined at thinkalong.org/structuring-discussions. You can find options for a small or large group, so that all students or just a few participate, and examples of some discussion formats.

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Files

Internet as Public Utility, Teacher Guide, FINAL - Kelly Whitford.pdf

Activity
June 24, 2021
0.1 MB
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Investigate_worksheet.pdf

Worksheet
June 23, 2021
0.7 MB
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