EVALUATING WEB RESOURCES
TEACHING STUDENTS TO THINK
Mary Ann Ratliff--CIT
Clark High School
San Antonio, Texas
It is imperative that educators and students learn to think and validate the information they find on the Internet, not just find the information. The fact is the Internet is here to stay. Educators and students will have the technology and use it. High school students enjoy research using the Internet and almost consider it entertainment. They enjoy the graphics, video, sound, and pointing and clicking their way to vast amounts of information. They prefer this research tool to reading volumes of books. Assignments should include research from the Internet as well as from traditional sources and should require students to find related sites and compare the information. Since the Internet is here to stay, teachers have to teach students responsible use of this tool. Students who graduate in this millenium will work in a world where they will access on-line information 24 hours a day.
Educators and students should realize that the computer is a TOOL for researching information and analyzing and reporting that information. Alan November states, "The real revolution is not in the 'Hardware' but what is flowing through the hardware." Alan November is a nationally known leader in educational technology.
We often think that we can determine the value of a site by the domain extensions. We assume that all educational links are accurate and that many commercial sites are not. While this may be true most of the time, it is not always true. Sites sponsored by a government agency are usually very reliable. Determining the accuracy of information found on the Web is totally the responsibility of the user. Anyone can publish on the Web, and no one is in charge of checking the validity of what is posted. You can check who registered the website and who the contact is at http://www.easywhois.com. Simply type the domain name (example: www.nisd.net) in the box provided, and the information will be provided to you. Common domain extensions are listed below:
There are six different criteria to consider in evaluating a web site:
.org non-profit organization .edu education institution .com commercial entity .net Internet Service Provider/Network Resource .gov government agency .mil military site
Don't forget the fact that students publish work on many educational web sites, and their information may or may not be completely accurate.
Another way to evaluate an Internet site is the TEN C's listed below:
1) Content - Is the content popular or scholarly? Are the author and title identified? What is the intent? What is the date of the publication?
2) Credibility - What is the url extension - Is it a source from .edu, .gov, .org, or a .com - and what might this tell you?
3) Critical Thinking - How does this information mesh with your previous knowledge - or with other resources?
4) Copyright - Internet users, along with users of print media, must respect copyright.
5) Citation - Internet sources should be cited to credit the source.
6) Continuity - Will this site be maintained and updated? Can you rely upon it over time? If it is free, is it likely to continue to be free?
7) Censorship - Are some words in your search excluded via censorship - will this affect your results?
8) Connectivity - If this is a popular and busy resource, will it be easily available at the times when you will need it?
9) Comparability - Is there an identified comparable print or CD-ROM data source? (Some sites include partial information online - with complete information offline in a print format.)
10) Context - Are you looking for current or historical information on your topic? Are you looking for opinions or research-based statistics?
How can parents protect their children from inappropriate information found on the Internet? Parents want to know where their children are going in the real world; the same should be true in the virtual world of the Internet. There are no CyberPolice at this point in time. Therefore, parents and other responsible adults have to control the use of the Internet by their children. Here are some helpful suggestions:
For more information on protecting your kids: http://nisd.net/digitalcitizen/
Click on the following link to get to the Urban Legend information at above NISD site) http://nisd.net/digitalcitizen/Literacy.html
LET'S LOOK AT SOME OTHER INFORMATION:
ICYOUSEE: T IS FOR THINKING BY JOHN R. HENDERSON, ITHACA COLLEGE LIBRARY
ACTIVITIES --Two Teacher Assignments
Watch the following commercial from State Farm and write what you think the message is and your opinion.
DO THE EVALUATION
WORKSHEET ON TWO WEBSITES ON THE SAME TOPIC