Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet
With the reliance of students, teachers, business people ... well, everyone ... on the Internet and its resources, it's imperative that everyone has the tools needed to evaluate and identify good and bad sites.
Use the resources and challenges outlined here to equip students to become savvy consumers of net information. Check out fake sites or sites with an obvious bias to introduce students to this concept.
Google has created a slide show and lesson plan to help students use critical thinking skills to assess the credibility of search page results. The goal is to provide students with validating strategies to make an initial judgment about the authority of web based information.
Librarians and educators need to be able to illustrate to students and users alike that websites cannot always be trusted to provide truthful and accurate data. This page provides examples of websites that are full of lies, inaccuracies or false information - either for amusement or for more worrying reasons.
Everything from Dihydrogen Monoxide (water) to the California Velcro Crop Failure and The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.
The U.C. Berkeley Library has developed a methodology for evaluating the quality of resources and evaluate their authority and appropriateness for your project.
Useful for both students and teachers – anyone doing research on the Internet.
Anyone, in theory, can publish on the Web. Therefore, it is imperative for students to develop a critical eye to evaluate the credibility of Internet information.
Virginia Montecino from George Mason University proposes 9 questions that can help your students evaluate is credibility of a page's information.
Admongo is a free resource from the FTC that teaches critical thinking with an application to advertisements.
If is sounds to good to be true...
Eastern Michigan University provides an in-depth lesson series that can be adapted to your students needs. They compare looking on the Internet for information to shopping for food, clothes, or a car. Includes a section on e-mail hoaxes and practice evaluating hoax web sites.
When in doubt, Google it.
A technique our webmaster uses to evaluate a product or web site is to run it thru Google search. Enter the name of the concept, item (e.g., Yugo Car), or web domain into Google and see what comes up. If 20 of the first 50 entries talk about removing spyware or include words like hoax, worst, or dangerous ... you get the idea.
As teachers, you will have already developed a sense of quality sites. Your students need to acquire similar experience thru practice and examples.
Other Areas To Check Out...
• An Evaluation Checklist for Educational Web Sites
• Astronomy Near and Far
• Compilations of Lesson Plans
• Developing Research Skills
• Discussion Groups
• Foreign Language Treks
• Glossaries for Space Adventurers and Mere Mortals
• Hosting Your Own Web Pages
• National Initiatives: School Exemplars
• Research Resources for Teachers and Librarians