Thursday, February 26, 2009

Finding information online: How do we address truth and bias in the classroom?

Chris Betcher

Even though I use Google almost daily, it was beneficial to hear the search tips that Chris gave. I had never really understood exactly how to use some of the strategies, so it was good to have the opportunity to learn new tricks. His “Five Factors for Evaluating a Website” should be part of every technology literacy program. Teaching our students to be critical--to question, “Who said that?” “How do they know?” “Where do they get their information?” can and should begin at the elementary level. Speaking of the elementary level, the list of Search Engines for K-12 students is a great resource. Having elementary students searching through Google is most often a waste of time. They need search engines that will produce sites that are within their reading level, and sites that offer easy maneuverability.

Wikipedia! Interesting to get a glimpse of how the articles actually evolve. Comforting to know that there are Wikipedia Watch Dogs keeping an eye on the information being posted and keeping it legitimate.

I also liked Rob Rubis’s rule for the ISB middle and high school students, “Use it first, but not last.”

I think that in this world of technology and networking one of the main jobs of teachers is to teach students to think seriously and critically about the information they are reading—not to accept everything as it is presented. Students need to learn how to seek clarification, question sources and verify what they read. This all begins with good, basic reading skills.

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