Sunday, December 30, 2007

Internet Research - A Journey into the Twilight Zone

Aaahhh darn it! Not again! This assignment is taking too long and my students are using Internet sites that are simply junk! How am I supposed to cover these standards if I have to somehow teach my students how to sift through the junk on the Internet too!

How many of you have felt like this? It really isn't as bad as it seems; you can avoid the feeling that you are in the Twilight Zone. I give students a form that helps them to identify good Internet sites, go through the form with them, and have them practise giving consideration to sites I have pre-selected. I select a good site, a bad site and a so-so site and have them fill out the form on each site so that I can monitor how well they are interpreting the information. This lesson doesn't take too long and will go a long way in helping your students to select information that is relevant, appropriate and accurate for their research. Best of all, it is not time consuming, its easy and for you Internet novists - you can learn right along with your students!

Here are some sites that may help you:

For high school: http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/evalhigh.html

For grades K to 8: http://www.cybersmartcurriculum.org/lesson_plans/#k1

Informational Sites:

http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/webeval.html#eval

http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Evaluate.html

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Internet research is daunting for even an educated adult, much less students in high school. Granted that many students know how to "surf the web," but many of them don't have the tools they need to distinguish valid content and research from someone's personal opinions.

    The evaluation form that is linked on this site, "Critical Evaluation of a Web Site," seems to be a good, quick form to help students wade through the massive amounts of information on the web. I think, though, that there is one big change that can help it to be more productive. This is changing the arrangement of the sections. I think part 1 should be "authority" rather than technical and visual aspects. The content should continue to be number 2. I feel this is a good order because the first step to identifying a useful web site can be found even before going to the site. This is an evaluation of the url. An example of this would be that if a student is studying about weather and weather conditions, it would be more useful to the student to go look at results from the noaa web site rather than, say, someones myspace account. Therefore, the questions relating to the authority of the site can be seen to some degree before one even goes to the site. This is helpful because there are so many results to sort through and you can eliminate many choices just by the url.

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