If this is a generation that is going to get its news from a screen, it behooves us to teach them how to be active and thoughtful watchers.
— Alissa, Doc Academy Teacher

Blueshift partnered with Doc Society to bring Doc Academy to the US, a free online platform by teachers for teachers that fully engages students around the most pressing issues of our day through a lens of critical media literacy.

The platform is free and easy to use, offering standards-aligned lessons developed by veteran English, Science and Social Studies educators.

Currently in use in 25% of UK classrooms. U.S. teachers used it for the first time in Spring, 2018:

88% of US teachers said it increased their comfort level teaching with doc films, and

94% said they plan to use it again. 

Click here for Doc Academy teacher-leader Josh Cabat talking about why media literacy matters.

Click here to download a share-able information sheet about Doc Academy.

Highly Curated Award winning films

Teacher-vetted films include:

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Almost Sunrise

The suggested classroom unit for the documentary Almost Sunrise is a 5-6 day lesson exploring the central issues raised in the film - the challenges facing returning veterans, moral injury, forgiveness and healing. The film follows Anthony and Tom, two Iraq War veterans, on a 2700 mile emotional and physical pilgrimage across the country in their effort to heal from war and restore hope.

Chasing Coral

Coral reefs are disappearing at an alarming rate due to outside forces such as ocean warming. In Chasing Coral, Zackary Rago, a biologist and self-proclaimed “coral nerd”, and Richard Vevers, an underwater photographer, embark upon a mission with a team of scientists, engineers, and cinematographers in an immersive ocean experience to capture the elusive phenomenon of coral bleaching to reveal it to the world like never seen before.

Chasing Ice

Glaciers are receding at an alarming rate not previously seen due to atmospheric and oceanic warming. In Chasing Ice, James Balog, an award-winning nature photographer and geomorphologist, sets out to combine his love of nature and photography and capture the visual evidence that glaciers are disappearing rapidly by photographing 22 different sites in Iceland, Alaska, and Greenland over a period of 5 years using video and time-lapse photography.

Dalya's Other Country

The suggested classroom unit for Dalya’s Other Country includes 5-6 days deeply exploring the topics and themes raised in the film. Dalya's Other Country tells the remarkable story of a family displaced by the ongoing Syrian conflict and exploring life in the United States caught between highly politicized identities. The film follows Dalya and her mother through what seems at first a typical immigration experience. However, they grow tense and anxious as the 2016 presidential campaign unfolds and candidate Donald Trump calls for restrictions on Muslim immigrants.

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I Am Not Your Negro

This lesson for I Am Not Your Negro includes 5-6 days of suggested exercises featuring in-depth research and discussion of the civil rights era as a backdrop for the film, and critical analysis of the clips in the film, which delve into the writings and social commentary of James Baldwin and whether and how his words predicted and are echoed in the experience of racial division in the United States today.

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Growing Up Coy

This lesson uses an accessible and engaging film of one's family fight to raise a significant contemporary civil rights issue affecting their child's education and opportunity to learn. While the topic of this film may seem controversial in some communities because of its focus on LGBTQ+ rights, this is less a film about the politics of “bathroom bills” being discussed around the country, and more about how we as a society identify injustices and what steps each of us are willing to take to address them. Growing Up Coy is appropriate for those studying Contemporary History/Politics, or in English Language Arts classrooms focusing on the use of film as a tool for rhetoric.

SEED: The Untold Story

In this 5-6 day set of lessons, students will research to back up opinion statements, integrate quantitative and qualitative analysis into writing, and compare and contrast primary and secondary sources. These skills will be directed towards examining different views on the use of pesticides, understand genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and weigh the influence of agribusiness corporations in today’s production of food.

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Thank You For the Rain

This 5-6 day unit explores the themes and issues in the documentary film Thank You For the Rain.Through the personal lens of Kenyan farmer Kisilu Musya, the film follows one person’s commitment to educating his community about sustainable farming practices and the risks of climate change. The film brings to life the many ways in which climate change directly affects Kisilu, his family and their livelihood.