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How Mismatch by AllSides Heals Political Polarization
Middle school, high school, and college classrooms across the U.S. are grappling with a complex political, cultural, and media landscape. Adults and young people alike are susceptible to seeing the world through incomplete and polarizing “filter bubbles.” Rancorous, divisive interactions are modeled routinely in our politics, media, and social media.
Facing this landscape, today’s educators want to deepen students’ skills in news and media literacy, critical thinking, and civil dialogue. In short, educators want to help students figure out how to think critically and independently about complex topics, as well as how to talk about these topics, especially with people who may have different perspectives. Developing these skills is foundational to students’ ability to participate thoughtfully in our 21st-century democracy.
What is Mismatch?
Enter Mismatch, an online conversation platform that is purpose-built to cultivate skills and offer practice in civil dialogue between middle school, high school, and college students in different parts of the United States. Like a modern-day “pen pal” program, Mismatch connects students across distance and divides and guides them through structured, meaningful conversations with one another.
Until now, innovative educators wanting to connect and practice civil dialogue realtime with other classrooms have been required to stitch together multiple tools and manual approaches to in order to find and match with other classrooms, schedule times to meet, script conversations, conduct realtime video interactions, and evaluate outcomes.
Mismatch eliminates all of this legwork, making it easy for classrooms in different parts of the U.S. to find and match with each other, choose one or more topics to discuss, schedule meeting times, and hold realtime, structured video conversations.
The platform is entirely browser-based and protects students’ privacy by collecting registration details only at a classroom level, not from individual students.