Patron Spotlight: Michael Spikes, Educator

"I’m a big proponent of the concept that if you want to know something really well, you turn around and teach it to somebody else,” says Skokie-based educator Michael Spikes of Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. Michael relocated to the Chicago area three years ago from Long Island, NY, but continues to expand Stony Brook’s news literacy curriculum remotely through online courses and channels like Facebook and via public workshops, including some right here at Skokie Public Library. “Although I’m not in the classroom on a daily basis anymore, I always relish the opportunity to do more teaching,” he says.

In the summer of 2016, Michael mentored Skokie teen volunteers focusing on podcasts, local history, and the Skokie Wiki site. More recently he has lead workshops on news literacy in an effort to inspire the public to become more critical consumers of news in a post truth or ‘fake news' era. "Fake news is nothing new," he says, "It’s something that we’ve always had around us—it’s just now the internet has created channels that make it even easier for people to spread information and misinformation.” Michael believes that the more reliable information the public has, the more they can be active citizens in their communities.

The bulk of Michael's workshops for Stony Brook have brought him into Chicago area classrooms, as he explains, “Since I got here [in 2014] I was working on the Digital Resource Center but also working on promoting it to other teachers here and around the state.” However, as a former library page and elementary school librarian, Michael has always felt a strong tie to libraries. Being a member of the Skokie community for over a year, he hopes to make himself more available as a resource for the community here. As Michael says of Skokie, "It’s a place where I feel like I really want to become a bigger part of and learn more about and I feel one of the first ways I could do so was here at the library and bringing this content to folks.”

Learn More

For more information visit Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy. You can find more specific teaching and learning resources related to news literacy at the Digital Resource Center.