Freshmen place first and second in international digital literacy competition


Submitted Kristine Norrman

Freshmen Gracen Huang and Stephanie Davis won an international digital literacy competition hosted by Checkology.

Amelia Sinclair, News Editor

Freshmen Gracen Huang and Stephanie Davis placed first and second in an international InfoZones competition held by Checkology. 

Checkology is a free educational platform run by the News Literacy Project, whose mission is to help students learn how to identify credible information and the motives behind it. The program is implemented throughout the Digital Literacy course; the course is typically taken freshman year and is a graduation requirement for all students. The competition asked students to select a piece of media and describe what the intended purposes of the media were.

Huang, who placed first in the competition, chose to submit a “food theory” video from YouTube where she identified the two primary purposes as entertainment and informational. 

“I watch a lot of informational but entertaining videos on YouTube so that’s the first thing I thought of,” Huang said. 

According to the email from the News Literacy Project to Huang’s Digital Literacy teacher, Catherine Griffin, informing her of Huang’s win, Huang’s entry was selected because she acknowledged the correct primary and secondary purpose of the entry. However, Griffin also believes that Huang’s choice in submission truly set her apart from the rest.

“I think what made her entry stand out was that it was definitely relatable to the group of students that use Checkology,” Griffin said.

Kristine Norrman, Davis’s Digital Literary teacher, agrees that both students’ usage of interesting content and explanation is what secured their high placements.

“They found something that people were really interested in,” Norrman said. “They just really took the time on their [written entries] to elaborate on the different info-zones and why they thought it was a certain type of infozone. It was something they were interested in and cared about, and it just showed through.”

Davis, the runner-up of the contest, selected a satirical Heinz commercial featuring popular singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran for her submission, and like Gracen, she was able to identify the primary purposes.

“I thought [using a creative commercial] would be a fun way to submit it, and since it wasn’t an assignment, you didn’t have to make it as boring as other assignments,” Davis said. 

Despite their impressive placement, neither student entered the competition with exorbitant expectations.

“Even if you don’t feel like you have a shot at something, just do it anyway; there’s no consequence to doing it so might as well,” Huang said.

Davis emphasized the importance of having fun with school assignments, like her entry to the project.

“I’m hoping that [students] learn that not all things for school have to be serious, and they can find the fun [in assignments],” Davis said.

In addition to both Davis and Huang receiving Digital Literacy Project merchandise, Huang’s entry will be featured in next year’s Checkology international curriculum.

“[Huang’s entry is] something that a student was interested in, hopefully other students will be interested in too and now that will become a part of their lesson next year,” Norrman said.