What is Thinkalong? 

Thinkalong is a free web-based learning program that uses resources from PBS, NPR, and other public media stations to engage middle and high school students in discussions about current events. Using public media — video, audio and digital reports — about newsworthy topics, Thinkalong helps students to think critically about media messages, develop informed opinions, and practice how to take a stand.

Teachers have a lot of tools. Why use Thinkalong? 

Thinkalong empowers students to think for themselves, and to respectfully consider perspectives that others bring to a topic. Students become thoughtful consumers of media while connecting with peers who may come from backgrounds and perspectives that are quite different from their own. 

Best of all, Thinkalong can be used in traditional or blended classrooms supporting individual, small group, and whole-class learning.

How does it work? 

Simply put, Thinkalong offers one-stop shopping for teachers to facilitate lessons around topics of debate while ensuring that sources are both credible and useful to students. Each module focuses on a single topic – for example, voting rights, digital privacy, or immigration reform – that forms the basis of three activities: Investigate, Contemplate, and Debate.

  • Investigate: The Thinkalong website provides a selection of documentaries, articles, and podcasts from PBS, NPR, and other public media stations that help students explore all sides of an issue. Students watch, listen, and read the resources.
  • Contemplate: Guided by questions from the Center for Media Literacy about the authorship, format, audience, content, and purpose of each source, students develop their capacity to think critically and develop informed opinions about the topic at hand.
  • Debate: Students test their opinions in a structured debate with their peers. This can take place within a single classroom, or in an online “connected classrooms” debate forum that matches classrooms across the country. 

Visit the website to view the growing list of topics, explore the supporting resources, and discover how you can use this new public media tool to engage your students in contemporary issues.