Check out the slides for my May 2022 ATLIS presentation, "Teaching About Conspiracy Theories and Media Literacy." This presentation was recorded and is also available as an audio podcast.

Teaching About Conspiracy Theories & Media Literacy by @wfryer (May 2022)


Conspiracy theories are popular on social media and influence our local as well as national conversations and politics. How we can constructively teach about conspiracy theories and help students develop their media literacy skills to better evaluate information and sources in our digital world? This session will highlight the "Froot Loop Conspiracy Theories" media literacy unit, taught to 6th graders since fall 2020 at Casady School in Oklahoma City. By focusing on the Apollo Moon landings, students learn how to use and apply the "SIFT" web literacy framework (S = Stop, I = Investigate the source, F = Find trusted coverage, T = Trace to the original) analyzing together several online videos. While this unit is designed for middle school students, it an be adapted for other grades / ages / developmental levels. Access the full unit on

Welcome to an ongoing project catalyzed by a mountain of Twitter direct messages between Brian Turnbaugh (@wegotwits) and Wes Fryer (@wfryer) in 2019-20 following the Summer 2019 Summer Institute in Digital Literacy in Rhode Island. This blog post from July 23, 2020, provides more background about this project and our current resources.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome! Share on Twitter with the hashtag #ConCW and userIDS @wfryer @wegotwits!

Our current project resources include:

Summer Institute in Digital Literacy: July 2020

Archived Video Link (53 min, 7 sec)

Workshop: Summer Institute in Digital Literacy

Date/Time: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 - 6 pm ET / 5 pm CT / 4 pm MT / 3 pm PT

Description: Media literacy, web literacy, and the ability to employ critical thinking strategies as we consume, filter, and share information today are vital. Join Brian Turnbaugh (@wegotwits) and Wes Fryer (@wfryer) in an exploration of classroom strategies, resources, and lesson ideas related to conspiracy theories and culture wars online, in social media and mainstream media. Workshop resources on

Conspiracies and Culture Warls July 2020 SIDL Workshop

Media Exhibits for Digital Forensic Analysis

Inspired by the Mind Over Media propaganda collection of the Media Education Lab (@MedEduLab @reneehobbs), Brian and Wes have started a collection of media artifacts to use with students in lessons relating to the themes of this "Conspiracies and Culture Wars" media literacy project. Use this Google Slideshow (also embedded here) and copy/paste slides for student group or individual analysis.

As explained on slide 2, we recommend creating a digital space for students to share their analyses.

Media Exhibits for Digital Forensic Analysis
Project Pitch #digiURI 2020: Conspiracies and Culture Wars by @wegotwits & @wfryer

Mountain Moot: 16 July 2020

Mountain Moot 2020 Keynote

Title: Conspiracies and Culture Wars: Media Literacy NOW!

Description: Social media and digital technologies shape public perceptions, mainstream media headlines, and culture today more than ever in earth history. To be literate and constructive citizens of our communities, everyone connected to the web needs robust skills to filter information, identify credible sources This presentation seeks to connect the dots.

Conspiracies and Culture Wars: Media Literacy Needed! by @wfryer (16 July 2020) #MTMOOT

Archived Video Link (56 min, 12 sec)

More info on:

Lesson Resources

Additional media literacy lesson resources (including those relating to "Conspiracies and Culture Wars" are available on

#ConCW Project Planning & Brainstorming

67 minutes long. Also available as an audio podcast on Shownotes:

  1. Google Doc in use brainstorming this project

  2. Video version on YouTube

  3. Brian Turnbaugh (@wegotwits)

  4. Wes Fryer @wfryer

  5. Summer Institute in Digital Literacy (virtual: July 19-24, 2020)

  6. Mountain Moot (virtual and free: July 15-17, 2020)

  7. Wes’ collected Media Literacy resources:

  8. Documentary: Merchants of Cool by Douglas Rushkoff (@rushkoff)

  9. Book: Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age by Douglas Rushkoff (@rushkoff)

  10. Podcast Episode: #112 The Prophet by Reply All (@replyall)

  11. Podcast Series: Rabbit Hole by @kevinroose

  12. Welcome to the ‘Rabbit Hole’ (New York Times, Kevin Roose, 16 April 2020)

  13. Twitter moment from #digiURL 2019 – Learning from Troy Hicks (@hickstro)

  14. Amazing Texts Workshop – Examining Multimedia Non-Fiction as a Mentor Text” with Troy Hicks (@hickstro)

  15. Twitter Thread: How Do You Spot a Conspiracy Theory by John Cook (@johnfocook)

  16. The Conspiracy Theory Handbook by Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook

  17. YouTube Playlist: Wes Fryer’s Reflections on the 2019 Institute on Digital Literacy

  18. YouTube Playlist: “Media Literacy” by Wes Fryer

  19. Video: Moon Landings Faked? Filmmaker Says Not! (VideoFromSpace, 29 Jan 2013)

  20. Video: Plandemic and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking by @johnfocook

  21. “Why We Are Polarized” by Ezra Klein (@ezraklein)

  22. Podcast Channel: Short Wave by NPR

  23. Podcast Episode: How to Correct Misinformation, According to Science (Short Wave by NPR, 22 May 2020)

  24. Book: “LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media” by PW Singer @peterwsinger and Emerson T. Brooking (@etbrooking)

  25. Book: “The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads” by Tim Woo (@superwuster)

  26. “The Attention Economy and. the Net” by Michael Goldhaber (1997, First Monday)

  27. SIFT: The Four Moves by Mike Caufield (@holden)

  28. The Digital Polarization Initiative

  29. News Literacy Project (@NewsLitProject) and on YouTube) by Peter Adams (@peterd_adams) and John Silva (@MrSilva)

  30. Mark Twain quote (but actually probably not Twain): “A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes”

  31. E.O. Wilson Quote: “The real problem of humanity is the following: we have Paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.”

  32. Wes’ story idea: Cognitive Dissonance with Jane Yolen’s “Encounter”

  33. Podcast: Wind of Change by @praddenkeefe

  34. Wes’ story idea: Encounters with Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate

  35. John Rawls: Veil of Ignorance (Justice)

  36. Podcast: Your Undivided Attention (@humanetech_@tristanharris@aza)