Web Literacy Basics | Write the Web | Hack the News
Learners will use X-Ray Goggles to remix a news website, learning about openly-licensed resources, different forms of media, and how to create something new on the Web through remix.
Write the Web
Web Literacy CompetenciesCodeComposeRemixShare
21st Century Skills
- Distinguish between original content and a remix.
- Use X-Ray Goggles to alter a web page to give it a particular theme.
- Critique another learner's remix
- Beginner critical thinkers
- Beginner web users
Do the Web X-Ray Goggles first time user activity on your own to become familiar with online remix.
You may also want to identify and publish a list of news sites that fit your learning community's interests and reading levels. For example, you might chose different current events sites for a middle school art classroom than you would for a high school journalism club.
Review this definition of the word "hack" to help learners unpack the term.
2. Introduction10 minutes
Welcome your students and explain that in this activity we're going to explore "remix." Give each student a piece of paper and a pencil.
In pairs, ask the students to sketch their favorite fictional character. No need for accuracy or too much detail — just draw it quickly.
After a few minutes, have the pairs swap their drawings. Prompt the students to add something to their partner's drawing. Explain that this is remix in action!
3. Hack the News Using the Web X-Ray Goggles40 minutes
In the same pairs, if enough equipment is available, have the students open a modern web browser. Else, demonstrate on one computer and form small groups afterward so the students can try it on their own. Install the X-Ray Goggles
Go to goggles.mozilla.org. Demonstrate how to drag the dark pink “Drag and drop me in your bookmark bar” button to your browser’s bookmarks toolbar.
Once you've installed the goggles, try the first-time user experience linked to at the bottom of the homepage.
Navigate to a news web site
Don’t worry — you’re not actually hacking the site for others. You’re changing a local version of the site that only you can see.
Decide on a remix theme
Activate the Goggles
Click the Goggles in your bookmark toolbar to turn them on. Now when you mouse over elements of the news page, you’ll see their HTML tags and you can click on each element to get to the code underneath.
Click on part of the page to the remix
As you mouse over parts of the page, you'll notice that they become highlighted in different colors and that a tag pops up describing that part of the page. Click on any highlighted part of the page to remix it.
Try changing the headlines or rewriting some of the stories based on your fictional character. Edit some of the links and play with font size and color.
You can even swap out the images on a page. To grab an image from Facebook or Instagram, you'll need to click into the post, then right-click (or control-click) the image and chose something like, "Copy image location," from the menu.
TIP: How to find and swap in openly licensed image. The Creative Commons search page or the advanced settings in Google help you easily find an image you like with permission to use it. Right-click or control-click on the image you want and select: “Copy image location.” (Or “Copy image URL” or “Copy image address”, depending on your web browser.) Then paste your new image URL over top of the old one. Be careful not to lose the quotation marks!
Publish your remix. Once you’re done, click the Publish button, or press 'P' on your keyboard. This makes your changes visible on the web for others to see.
Take it a step further. Have learners share their hacks with the news station their remixes used. Most news stations are on Twitter, so try tweeting a link to them and think about their reactions.
4. Reflection and Discussion10 minutes
Demo a few of the remixed pages and ask students to share what they changed. Consider prompts such as:
- What version of the website do you like more?
- What else would you remix? What do you wish you could remix but couldn’t? Why not?
- How else can you find media that you can remix?
If time permits, invite students to continue by remixing their partner's new page. You can discuss how the web makes it easy to modify content in this way and that we're always remixing and building on what others have made.
You can also discuss credibility and how understanding remix changes how you read or interpret information, as well as think about who authored it.