Cortext is a website that helps you detect bias, opinions, and fake news.
When readers want a second opinion on whether an online news article is biased, Cortext is there to help. Readers can copy the URL of any online news article they wish, and simply paste it into a search bar on the website. After pressing submit, the website processes the content of the article. A few seconds later, the reader will see their article once again, but slightly differently. The re-presented article is broken up by sentence, with certain keywords and phrases highlighted in bright yellow. These words were highlighted because they carry a “Positive” or “Negative” sentiment or slant towards the subject of the sentence, and the unhighlighted words are considered “neutral.”
It is becoming increasingly important for students to learn how to be critical, and to understand that with the internet, many times what you see at face value is not always what you get. “Media literacy,” is a tricky concept–– but an essential skill in the digital age. Making the case for media literacy in schools across the country is simple when you solely treat it as an extension of the critical thinking skills that many are already taught; we want to shift the direction of education works based on the way our world changes–– creating students who will be equipped to enter our evolving world. Not only does a media literacy education build empathy through recognizing other points of view and where a person might be coming from, it teaches students how to become a smart consumer of products and information. In school, kids are taught how to do algebra and memorize plant names in high school, but as our world relies more and more on media, we also need to teach them how to determine the “persuasive intent” of advertising, to detect the enticing draws of fake news, and to discover the difference between opinion and fact.
With Cortext, understanding media literacy and how to navigate the internet doesn’t need to be separate subjects, it can be layered on to support an existing curriculum. When students are given articles or passages of texts to read in school, or even outside of school for leisure, Cortext will help them develop the skills needed to be a critical and analytical thinker. In school, we learn basic math and writing skills, and at Avenues, classes like HIP teach us critical thinking skills we can use in all facets of life, well after we graduate. Why can’t we use Cortext in these classes to “get to the core of the text,” helping students better understand the biases and intent of the author?