Gaming: Reading, Writing and Radicalization?

Episode 10

Video games in the classroom can help young people learn a wide range of skills. But gaming can also expose them to radical ideologies. We talk about game-based learning with Meenoo Rami, manager for Microsoft's Minecraft Education. We also explore how educators can counter hateful messages in games with Keegan Hankes from the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project.


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Resources and Readings

Meenoo Rami
Website | Minecraft Education | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

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Keegan Hankes
Intelligence Report | Salon

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Monita Bell: Hey, do y’all remember this? [Makes electronic game sounds.] What about this? [Makes electronic game sounds.] I spent hours and hours playing Super Mario Brothers, the original one, with my siblings and my neighbors when I was a kid, and when we graduated to a Super Nintendo? It was a wrap. Super Mario, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Uniracers, Skitchin’—all weekend, before bed, after homework … sometimes before homework. It was just so much fun, and most people think that games, whether old or new, are just for entertainment, but games can also teach and not just button-pushing. They can help students learn subjects like reading, writing, science, and civics. Games can teach empathy and cooperation.

Monita Bell: Now, I was definitely supposed to do my homework before I started playing video games and parents or guardians out there, you may require that of your kids too. But what if playing video games is the homework? Games can be how kids learn how to be good citizens and community members, but games can also be how they learn radical extreme ideologies. You’re listening to The Mind Online, a podcast for educators from Teaching Tolerance. I’m your host, Monita Bell, and this episode is all about how games can be used to teach reading and writing, but also radicalization.

Keegan Hankes: Video games are just another tool that hate groups are using to reach new audiences and in particular younger audiences.

Monita Bell: That’s my coworker, Keegan Hankes, who helps the Southern Poverty Law Center track hate and extremism. We’ll talk to him a little later about some problems in gaming culture. But first, let’s hear about some really great educational uses of gaming. Minecraft for Education is a worldwide Microsoft project bringing game-based learning into the classroom.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 1: So we developed a refugee crisis learning resource within Minecraft and that’s a series of lessons that the teachers follow, and a series of Minecraft worlds that the children work within, and follow that narrative. You are a refugee, you have just been forced to leave your home because of conflict. And you need to take a journey to try and reach a safe place. At one point you are trafficked. At another point you cross a minefield, you meet other refugees. You stay in a refugee camp, that’s the narrative. So it’s ultimately an adventure map we are in, but a very dark adventure where children become refugees.

Monita Bell: Meenoo Rami taught high school English in Philadelphia’s public schools for years. And she’s the author of the book Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching. And since 2016, she’s been the manager for Minecraft Education at Microsoft.

Meenoo Rami: You know, frankly, I’m a complete newb, I’m not a typical gamer. So I look after our community and our training efforts to help educators who in a lot of ways are like me, who are like, “What, Minecraft? To teach us? How does that make sense?”

Monita Bell: And so for folks who may not know what Minecraft looks like or how the game goes, can you just describe it? What’s the object of the game? What does it look like?

Meenoo Rami: Yeah, I mean starting with just that, “What’s the object of the game?” Specifically, Minecraft Education is another version of the popular game Minecraft, that’s played by millions of players around the world. And it’s a very player-driven game. You get to decide how you want to play it and in what mode you want to play it. And especially in creative mode, there is no limit to what you can create. So in some ways, you can think of it like digital Legos. It’s a block-based game. So using blocks of different types, you really get to make the world the way you want it.

Meenoo Rami: And the way I think about it is helping students really craft limitless worlds. That’s the one way I put it. And by not having this like one finite way that you’re playing it, it really encourages students to express themselves, their ideas about the world and what they want the world to look like—which is what really drew me to this work.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 1: So the ultimate output for me with a project like the refugee crisis, is teaching life skills. How do we teach our children to make good decisions about when to take action and what action to take?

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 2: In order to create something good and create a world that we all want to live in, in the future, we have to teach our kids empathy and understanding of each other, and I think that’s the base for an open heart.

Meenoo Rami: I mean, let’s go back to where I grew up as a teacher, Philadelphia, and you ask a group of elementary school students using Minecraft, “Can you show us what you would like Philadelphia to look like 50 years from now?” That kind of work is happening in classrooms across the world because both educators and students are taking this opportunity of using a very expressive and immersive experience like Minecraft Education to work on projects like that.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 3: Just a couple of months ago, we were part of this incredible program named Coral Crafters. With that we were helping the environment in our country, well actually worldwide, to create a coral reef.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 4: Me siento muy feliz saber que algo que diseñé va a estar ayudando al mundo. [I’m so happy knowing that something that I designed will be helping everyone.] 

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 3: Our students were actually going to create a sculpture field in Minecraft. And after it was built in Minecraft that was then going to be made with the element name biorock, which helps to foster the growth of the coral reef much faster than in regular circumstances. And once it was constructed, now it was going to be placed on the coast of Cozumel.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 4: Algo que él y yo enseñamos que va a servir al mundo, algo que lo está ayudando a que viva más tiempo, es algo fantástico. [Something that he and I taught that’s going to serve the world, something that’s helping it to live longer, is just fantastic.]

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 3: And for them, and even for us, it’s amazing that something that they love to use, and they like to work around, has helped them develop something in order for them to help their planet. And that’s what we want to teach our students.

Meenoo Rami: I think we learn by tinkering. We learn by trial and error. We learn by talking to other people. And I think this idea of play-based learning actually would seem quite natural to educators, especially educators who believe in giving the students an opportunity to meet the students where they are, and using things that they’re passionate about and bringing that into the classroom. So I’ve been influenced by people like Chris Emdin who’s using hip-hop to reach students and educators and it’s the same idea. Students are passionate about hip-hop. How does that fit into the pedagogy and the work for us as educators when we’re trying to reach students?

Meenoo Rami: Well, students are into Minecraft. What would it look like if Minecraft was used as a tool to help foster things like creativity and critical thinking and communication and collaboration?

Monita Bell: You’re talking about game-based learning as opposed to, say, gamification, or gamifying a task to make it more like a game. How would you differentiate the two, and how do you see game-based learning in particular, as something that can be central to as opposed to adjunct to?

Meenoo Rami: Yeah, these terms get thrown around a lot in our field and the way I think about gamification, is like it’s adding a game element to a nongame scenario. Game-based learning is quite different from that. Instead of just incorporating an element, it’s really using an actual game to teach. Let’s say you want to teach the idea of buildings or homes that are built in a way so that they’re sustainable. Well, all the things that you would do when you’re learning about sustainable homes, you will still do, but you would actually have students build the model of their home in Minecraft.

Meenoo Rami: So you might still have students read articles or background information about sustainable buildings. You might still have classroom lectures or discussions. But then, when it comes to actually building their model, the unique affordance of students being able to build quite realistic and immersive models for homes. And I think the thing that really moves me in this work is that they’d be working with other students. So there’ll be the things that we say that we value in education. There would be an expression of creativity; there would be an effort to collaborate; there would be an effort to solve problems together. And to me, that’s the difference between gamification and game-based learning.

Monita Bell: Yes, and I was going to say you were talking about the goals that we have of education: that students are collaborating, they’re exhibiting their creativity and also getting at that diversity element and understanding perspectives unlike your own.

Meenoo Rami: Yeah, absolutely. The other example that I might give is, you know you have an empty lot in your neighborhood. How should that space be made into a public space? That’s just as much about diversity and use of public space, and who has a voice and who doesn’t and how do we actually bring students’ vision to life? We have our nonprofit founded by Mojang Studios called Block by Block. That’s exactly what that work does. That organization goes into countries around the world and helps folks of all backgrounds and all types come together to redesign public spaces using Minecraft.

Meenoo Rami: And being able to ask a group of 30 students to work in groups of three and say, “You know what? Yeah, we do have that empty lot in our school’s neighborhood. What do you think should be there instead?” That’s again a powerful invitation for students to tell us how they want to see the world, what kind of world they want to live in and play in and work in.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 5: We’re not trying to turn your students into gamers, we are trying to turn your gamers into students.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 6: Some teachers can make really boring history classes, and I didn’t want to be that teacher. My first students helped me building my own Minecraft history curriculum. And with Minecraft, they felt that I really care about them because I wanted them to feel engaged and involved in the classroom.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 5: We created the world itself. We created the world we were playing in, and that’s incredible.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 7 (student): I had some hard difficult at the beginning, but some experts of my class helped me and then I became an expert.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 8 (student): It was very interesting because we could build and demonstrate what we were learning in class.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 5: Students started to show competencies and skills that, through the game, they were much more easily expressed.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 7 (student): My first reaction was like, “Oh my God, this is a 3-D world, and I could do whatever I want to do. I could build my own house, and my dad is an architect.” And he was like, “Whoa, you could help me with this, and you can become an architect.”

Meenoo Rami: You’re a math teacher, and you want to teach area and perimeter. Well, you can do that in Minecraft because everything’s built with blocks and you can make each of those blocks a unit for that measurement. I gave you the sustainable home example for science. You can have students ... We are literally teaching the Mars generation. Probably some of our students will actually be part of the mission that will take humanity to Mars. “Build a spaceship to Mars,” or “What would a human habitat on Mars look like?” If you’re thinking about history or especially specific to folks who pay attention to the work of Teaching Tolerance, “Take a local landmark and study the history behind it and reimagine it in more just ways.”

Or “What will your city or your neighborhood look like 50 years from now?” All of these are invitations or provocations for using Minecraft in the classroom. And I think once you get educators to see the possibility, the expert—the expertise and the expert support that they need, they can actually get that from their students. And which is what me and the rest of our Minecraft Education team tries to do. We try to remove the fear of the unknown and say that the best experts of Minecraft are already sitting in front of you: You have 30 of them in your classroom. You just have to kind of get out of their way and give them the opportunity to show you what they can do.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 9: What do you love about Minecraft?

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 10 (student): Building farms, I build houses, I build villages.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 11 (student): Your mind is free for anything you want to do.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 12 (student): The creativity that we can do.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 10 (student): It’s weird because we’re playing it at school.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 13: Learning in the past would be the teacher standing in front of the classroom, hand-feeding them the information that they need to know. Teachers need to take a step back. We need to allow our students some of that voice and choice so that they can elevate the passion inside of them. We have to engage them in the classroom with the kind of relevant things they’re doing outside of the classroom. One of the things that lends itself so well to that is Minecraft: Education Edition.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 14: It gives students the chance to collaborate with each other and work together in ways that they may not have been able to before.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 13: And they come up with new ideas while they’re learning, which is what we want our students. We want them to think. We want them to learn how to think, not what to think. When you can apply science, geometry. I don’t think there is a lesson that you couldn’t do where you couldn’t apply Minecraft.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 14: As an educator, I have to tap into what motivates my students. If it’s using technology, if it’s using game-based learning, if it’s an app, that’s the best way that we’re going to get it.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 13: We want to move them from the consumer into creators, producers, curious students that want to find new ways to do things.

[Audio clip from advertisement] Speaker 10 (student): Say cheese.

Meenoo Rami: Those who are listening who want to get started, they should certainly check out our site, We have over 500 lessons that give you a flavor of what educators around the world are doing with Minecraft. These lessons come from educators themselves and with partnerships like World Wildlife Foundation, Smithsonian, the Royal Foundation in U.K. And most recently we worked with EdSurge on a guide for teaching with games.

Monita Bell: And since this podcast is primarily centered on digital literacy, how would you say games and gaming fit into building students’ digital literacy?

Meenoo Rami: Games and gaming are inherently collaborative. They require ... Even though you can build up by yourself in Minecraft, it is way more powerful when you put two or three students in the same world working on a common problem. I think what games uniquely do is they allow students to practice things like, “I want to advocate for my idea.” Or “You know what? In this moment, I might need to listen to what you’re passionate about, and blend that with my own idea to make our collective idea better.” We want our students, as Chris Lehmann would say, to be thoughtful, wise and kind. I think games are a great platform for that kind of teaching and learning.

Meenoo Rami: And most importantly, there are thousands of educators around the world, probably in your own district or in your backyard or in your town, already doing this work. You know, reach out to us. Our team is on Twitter, I’m on Twitter, and we’d love to help you connect with both global and local educators who can help you get started on your Minecraft journey. We’re always all learning and, and you’re invited to this party.

Monita Bell: That was Meenoo Rami, manager from Minecraft Education and Microsoft. Look for this episode of The Mind Online at There you’ll find links to Minecraft games and lessons all ready for the classroom. And now let’s take a quick break.

Monita Bell: Did you know that Teaching Tolerance has other podcasts? We’ve got Teaching Hard History, which builds on our framework, Teaching Hard History: American Slavery. Listen as our host, history professor Hassan Kwame Jeffries, brings us the lessons we should have learned in school through the voices of leading scholars and educators. It’s good advice for teachers and good information for everybody. We’ve also got Queer America, hosted by professors Leila Rupp and John D’Emilio. Joined by scholars and educators, they take us on a journey that spans from Harlem to the Frontier West, revealing stories of LGBTQ life that belong in our consciousness and in our classrooms. Find both podcasts at and use them to help you build a more robust and inclusive curriculum. 

Monita Bell: Okay, welcome back to The Mind Online. For decades, we at the Southern Poverty Law Center have monitored hate groups. My coworker, Keegan Hankes, focuses on the online propaganda of far-right extremists. Here’s my chat with Keegan.

Keegan Hankes: I’m a senior research analyst in the Intelligence Project, which is the part of the Southern Poverty Law Center that tracks hate and extremism. I’ve been doing this for about six years, and I would say that hate in the gaming community has been a fixture the entire time I’ve been here. Gaming, in general, is an enormous industry. I’ve seen information that says it’s bigger than both film and music combined.

Keegan Hankes: And what we’re really talking about is—I think last fall a survey came out that said there are 211 million Americans who play video games of some sort. I think it’s important to point out, right? I mean that’s not just people playing console games, that’s cell phone games, that’s computer games. It’s all sorts of different mediums. And that huge population of people necessarily is going to include some who participate in toxic, and hate-filled communities and ideologies.

Monita Bell: What are some of the biggest things you’ve learned in terms of patterns that have developed or how hateful actors are using gaming for their purposes?

Keegan Hankes: In my experience, I think the biggest takeaway is actually that hate is not necessarily endemic to people who play video games, or that population. Video games are just another tool that hate groups are using to reach new audiences. And in particular, younger audiences. This has been true for at least two decades. There’s an individual who passed away years ago; his name is William Pierce. He was the founder of the National Alliance, which has been one of the most notorious neo-Nazi groups in U.S. history. His organization actually developed a video game in 2002, and he said this explicitly, he talked about it as just another tool to reach young minds.

Keegan Hankes: And that’s also how they think about many other mediums that aren’t video games. This is just one more way to get an ideology or idea that is racist or otherwise bigoted to an audience of people that they’re trying to recruit.

Monita Bell: Can you talk about that game in particular? What were some of the features of it?

Keegan Hankes: First off, the game was titled Ethnic Cleansing, which says a lot, right?

Monita Bell: Right.

Keegan Hankes: I mean, that’s a giant red flag. We’re not even talking about, for instance, a more nuanced approach where somebody might be playing Fortnite or another popular video game and inserting racist rhetoric into a chat room, or a voice chat feature. So it was very, very explicit. The other thing that I think is very interesting is it was obviously a very short game; it was done with very little effort from the National Alliance. So they basically took a software package or a gaming software package and just inserted images and music into the game, and then made a very, very short racist plot that the players went through.

Keegan Hankes: It wasn’t like they had made some masterful, artful and subtle game to recruit people. It was literally just a quick port that brought all these ideas into one space and let them have this outlet to bring people in.

Monita Bell: Right. And to present it in a way that’s supposed to be fun.

Keegan Hankes: Yeah. I mean look, there’s a plot. You can advance through levels. And I believe the last part of the game, of course, there’s a lot of killing of minorities and other horrible, horrible elements. But the last part of the game you actually are supposed to kill the prime minister of Israel at the time.

Monita Bell: Wow.

Keegan Hankes: Yeah. Well, it’s very, very troubling. I mean especially when you think about the legacy and the history of the National Alliance, right? This is the group whose leader wrote a book that influenced Timothy McVeigh, who actually went and tried to strike a blow and killed something like 160 people in Oklahoma City in the mid-90s.

Monita Bell: Can you talk about some of the most popular games through which hateful actors are trying to reach people?

Keegan Hankes: People who participate in hate movements actually are just also playing the most popular games at the moment. And a reason for that is that they are, like in any other medium, trying to reach the largest audience of people. One example I can give you of this in recent years is when Pokémon Go, the cell phone version of the Pokémon games came out, we saw individuals from the Daily Stormer take flyers and place them at the locations in the real world where you had your cell phone out, and you’re out trying to catch a Pokémon you would end up going. And they would put these flyers in those specific locations knowing that young people play the game, would go there to catch a Pokémon and also would see the flyer telling them to go to the Daily Stormer.

Monita Bell: We’ve talked a little bit about the Daily Stormer before. It is the premier white supremacist website online. It’s been operating since the ‘90s.

Keegan Hankes: Yeah. So recently I saw a screenshot of a prominent neo-Nazi posting pictures of himself playing Grand Theft Auto, right? But he had actually taken racist music and programmed it into the radio stations in the game. So he was driving around in Grand Theft Auto listening to racist music. So when somebody goes into these spaces and starts talking about white nationalist talking points, and they start trying to find ways to insert these ideas, these are the same sorts of ideas that are used offline. So they talk about things, for instance, like demographic change, the fact that white people will not be an absolute majority in this country, projected in early, in the early 2040s.

Keegan Hankes: They also do things like try to amplify status anxiety. So they’ll go out and try to find young white men in particular and kind of spread this narrative that their inheritance or their birthright is being taken away from them. They have declining prospects, and they really try to amplify this to create an anxiety that makes them more susceptible to white supremacist ideologies, because you necessarily go out and look for someone else to blame for these bad things that are happening to you. I think the other issue, and this is something that I know Teaching Tolerance has done a lot of work on, is just the toxicity of mainstream political rhetoric, also perpetuates in these online spaces.

Keegan Hankes: They are not immune from the same sorts of speech that we’ve seen come out of the halls of power in the last couple of years in particular, that have led to just a real decline in civility in a really, really nasty flavor of communication.

Monita Bell: Could you possibly describe what one of these early attempts to reach a single person might look like?

Keegan Hankes: You might have somebody in your headset saying, “Well, have you noticed that white men don’t have these rights anymore or freedom of speech is dying?” Or “Isn’t it awful that political correctness is ruining this country?” And it happens very, very quickly and the game ends, and you move on to the next one. Now we’re talking about a huge population of people who play video games, right? But if that happens a number of times, you start to see communities form and there are a lot of adjacent online spaces that play a role in this. You can think about this in terms of services like Discord. That is a chat platform that people who play video games frequently use. This was prominently used by white supremacists in the last several years to organize rallies and communicate and just handle the online side of their hate groups.

Keegan Hankes: Perhaps you get directed there from a gaming community online, or perhaps you find it because somebody said something into your ear, or you heard some idea or were exposed to it there. And you go out and join a place like Discord, and you find yourself in a toxic community, and you find yourself falling down the rabbit hole. The same is true for spaces like 4chan or perhaps 8chan or maybe in the more mainstream part of this, the really, really toxic parts of Reddit. Whenever we’re talking about online radicalization, it really is not a vacuum. And it could be that it doesn’t work and someone moves on, they hear something nasty, and they keep going. Or it could be that they get curious and they find themselves walking down this pathway.

Keegan Hankes: It’s just important to recognize that complexity when you think about how we’re going to find effective ways to combat it.

Monita Bell: Some have argued that this idea of white supremacists using gaming to target young vulnerable men is way overblown. And people who are talking about it, especially in mainstream news, are fearmongering. So how serious is the threat?

Keegan Hankes: I think it’s important to shy away from oversimplifications that I think you see rightful pushback towards, in the mainstream media in particular. I think there is an inclination to look for a particular answer to why something terrible happened. This goes probably most famously all the way back to the Columbine shootings in Colorado, where you had a whole host of people trying to say that this happened because of the video game Doom, which I think is a really unproductive oversimplification. The violence in the video game may have had some effect. But of course, that’s not the whole picture. It’s not even close.

Keegan Hankes: And I think that’s also true today. I mean I think we’ve seen acts of violence committed by people who play video games. Take, for instance, the New Zealand tragedy that took place just several weeks ago. On the other hand, I do think that we do need to take this stuff seriously. I mean, when I think about radicalization, and I think about a trend that I’ve seen in the last three to four years, which is that hate groups that we previously thought might be aging out to some extent … you had a lot of middle-aged men showing up to events. You had a lot of folks who either grew up or were adults during a period of America that was segregated, that just hasn’t been turned out to be the case anymore.

Keegan Hankes: Suddenly, rooms are full of 20-something young white men. And I think that’s really, really troubling. And then, when you look at how that happened, I think video games are of course a part of it because they’re a part of mainstream culture, and these are the battlegrounds that are sought out by white supremacists. It really bears paying attention to, and I think it’s really not had enough scrutiny when it comes to thinking about how we can make these spaces safer.

Monita Bell: What do you think some of the solutions might look like? What are some ways we can actually counteract what’s happening, especially as these digital spaces grow and there’s so many nuanced ways they operate, and it’s so diffuse?

Keegan Hankes: I think we need to find ways to make some of these more closed spaces visible. A lot of people play video games, but frequently hear parents say, “I don’t really know what my child is doing in these online spaces; I guess they’re playing Fortnite. I guess they’re playing whatever online game.” But it’s largely invisible. So, I think we need to find ways to make these spaces more visible and more open and find ways to study them more effectively. Because this isn’t just one more space related to white supremacy where there’s not a good enough body of research, and we should have more people studying this.

Monita Bell: Because we’re talking about online gaming activity and often adults, whether it’s parents or maybe even educators, don’t know what, say, a kid is actually doing when they’re playing a game, or what they’re being exposed to, they may not know the signs of vulnerability. Are there any signs of vulnerability that educators might be made aware of, that they might be able to pick up on? Or is it just too hard to tell?

Keegan Hankes: It’s really hard to tell. The spaces are very closed, and they’re difficult to look at and sometimes... You hear stories about this all the time, where “I had no idea my child was doing this.” It’s not futile to try to recognize them. Knowing that language and knowing those spaces and being able to engage in conversations with children about them probably gives you a better chance of recognizing whether something is going wrong. But I think we can even zoom out and think about this from the perspective of trying to make sure that at the same time that we recognize that this many people are playing the games, and this is a very normalized part of American life at this point and even globally, that we need to look for signs of isolation. So many of the stories that I end up reading when it’s already too late, and someone has gotten involved with a hate group, or they’ve gotten involved with white supremacy, involve a young individual who has felt so socially isolated that they’ve begun withdrawing and spending all their time, not just in digital spaces like video games, but also chat rooms and forums and different darker parts of the internet. And I think being able to recognize that and find ways to promote kind of inclusiveness and to bring those people back away from those spaces some. It doesn’t mean you have to stop using the internet, but just away from those spaces some, can make a huge difference.

Keegan Hankes: This really does come back to finding ways to teach diversity and inclusion and to decrease this feeling of isolation and anxiety that so many hate groups are trying to amplify all the time. I mean it really does come back to the core mission of Teaching Tolerance in my mind, which is finding ways to be inclusive, finding ways to bring more diversity into the classroom, and finding ways to get these students to open up their minds and stay a little bit more expansive than maybe some of these online communities would have them be.

Monita Bell: Thank you so much for taking the time to join me for this episode of The Mind Online, a podcast for educators from Teaching Tolerance. I’m your host, Monita Bell, managing editor for Teaching Tolerance, and I want to give a special thank you to Keegan Hankes of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, and Meenoo Rami, manager from Minecraft Education at Microsoft. Thank you for your time and your expertise.

Monita Bell: This podcast was inspired by our digital literacy framework, which offers seven key areas where students need support developing digital and civic literacy skills, and features lessons for kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms. Each lesson is designed in a way that can be used by educators with little to no technology in their classrooms. The digital literacy framework and all its related resources, including a series of student-friendly videos, a professional development webinar and a PD module, can be found online at That’s This episode was produced by Barrett Golding. Thanks to Microsoft production studios in Redmond, Washington, and WABE FM, the NPR station in Atlanta, Georgia, for recording our guests. Our production supervisor is Kate Shuster, and our music is from Podington Bear.

Monita Bell: You’ll find links to all the resources we discussed in this episode at Just look for The Mind Online and find this episode. And if you like what you’ve heard, subscribe and share with your friends and colleagues and anybody else you can think of, your family members. And when you share about what you’ve heard and what you’ve learned on Twitter or Instagram, use #TeachDigLit. I’ll see you next time.


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