Friday, January 6, 2017

Everything online is NOT true!

Have you come across this image in your Facebook feed?  This was something I saw shared more than once around Jan 1st and Jan 2nd.  People were sharing this image, thinking "how cool is this", without realizing 1-1-2017 was on a Sunday.  It's so easy to click "share" that we forget to use common sense sometimes.

Children and adults are presented with mountains of information on a daily basis. From the news to our social media feeds to our friends and family, information is everywhere.  Some many people (children and adults) have gotten into the "It's online, so it must be true" mindset, that images like the one above is shared and liked without doing a simply check on the calendar.

We have to teach our students (and ourselves) how to determine what is true and what isn't online.

Three Great Places to Start
The first place teachers can go to find some great critical evaluation, is at Kathy Schrock's Critical Evaluation website. This website provides some great resources and information teachers can use to better prepare themselves and their students when it comes to evaluating information online.

A second resource teachers should check out is November Learning.  Alan November provides some great resources for teachers on information literacy.

Of course the Digital Citizenship Curriculum by Common Sense Media provides lessons for grades K-12 that include evaluating information online. These are a must in every classroom!

Four Answer Worthy Questions
(1) Does the website have an author and/or publisher?
(2) What is the URL?
(3) Is the information current?
(4) Is the information reliable?

The four questions above are a great checklist when evaluating websites and the information they contain.

Does the website have an author and/or publisher?
You want to find the author and/or publisher of a website. Is the author and/or publisher a reliable source? Don't think just because you find the author's name that the information is reliable.

What is the URL?
The extension of a URL can tell you alot!  Extensions like .edu (education) and .gov (government) are for specific groups. Extensions like .com (companies) and .org (non-profit) can be purchased by anyone.

Is the information current?
Look for a date. When was the information posted, updated, or created?

Is the information reliable?
As you read the information, think about the author's purpose.  Are they trying to sell you something or push you toward one view vs another?  Also, try to find the same information on a different site. This will help you cross reference the information.

Being a critical evaluator of websites and information can help ensure you are not sharing images like the one so many did just a few days ago!

Do you have any resources you use to evaluate websites?  Share your resources with us!



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