Information Echo Chambers

How limited is your access to news?

Where do most Americans get their news? Identifying the news platforms people use (e.g., TV or print) is helpful, but it’s not the only important thing to know. Another critical question is how many different sources do people use within these platforms? This is significant because people tend to gravitate to a few sources that typically echo opinions they already hold. People watch just one news channel, listen to just one radio station, or read just one newspaper because the information provided conforms to their existing biases.

Social media exaggerates this situation because the algorithms that drive new posts to individuals’ feeds are designed to keep those users on sites as long as possible. This is accomplished by showing users new content that has been selected just for them. As a result, people end up in an information echo chamber where what they see is heavily slanted toward what they already agree with. It’s up to consumers to break out of these echo chambers to learn about other points of view.

In this activity, students work in teams to examine their personal information echo chambers and create a plan to bring more balance to this aspect of their lives.

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Objective: Students will examine the sources of news they use and create a plan to insure there is balance in the information they view, read, and hear.

Teacher Resources

Activity materials may be accessed in any order by clicking on the appropriate link. You may find it useful to start with the Activities Directions link to get a sense of the activity itself before looking at other sections.

  1. Preparation
  2. Activity Directions
  3. Assessment
  4. Extensions

Full Activity Plan pdf

Student Resources

This site is meant to be used by teachers. Student Resources are provided, but please do not direct students here. Copy and paste the link to the handout and whichever of the Online Resources you want students to use on your classroom webpage, in your classroom area of the school’s Learning Management System, or wherever you distribute digital materials to students.

  1. Information Echo Chambers handout
  2. Online Resources

Susan Brooks-Young: