Classroom Guide to The First Amendment in a Digital Age


Special Program on The First Amendment at The Newseum, Dec. 15, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.

Social Media, the Classroom and the First Amendment, written by Melissa Wantz, and published by the First Amendment Center and Knight Foundation, takes a fresh look at how America’s schools can enhance learning through the use of emerging and interactive media.

This guide is designed to give teachers the tools and ideas they need to engage students using social media and existing curricula. The guide was inspired by the recent Knight Foundation study “Future of the First Amendment 2011” written by Dr. Kenneth Dautrich. The Knight study – based on a survey of 12,090 high school students and 900 high school teachers -- indicates that students who are most active in social media also have the best sense of First Amendment principles. That suggests that Twitter, Facebook and other social media can play an important supplemental role in the classroom.

We are indebted to Knight Foundation for its support and the funding of this teachers guide. Knight Foundation, along with the First Amendment Center, Newseum, American Society of News Editors and McCormick Foundation are also the core founders of 1 for All, an unprecedented national campaign on behalf of the First Amendment (

1 for All is the collaborative effort of educators, artists, journalists, lawyers, librarians and many more who believe that the American public would benefit from a greater understanding of the First Amendment and the need to protect all voices, views and faiths.

Read more in the PDF document

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit