"If it's on the Internet, it is true."
My concern for how students readily accept information they find on the Internet exploded after reading a paper by Alan November, entitled "Teaching Zack to Think" some ten years ago. The example website in Alan's scenario is one used by Zack, a student writing a research paper, to support the idea that the Holocast never happened.
I think you will all agree that students need to learn to validate information found on the Internet, read in the newspaper or a magazine, or even heard on the evening news. How do You teach your students to evaluate sources of information?
One of the sites I've used with 4-6th graders is All About Explorers http://allaboutexplorers.com/
This site has several lesson ideas to help students evaluate information as different levels. At ISTE last year I met the writers- wait until I tell this year's kids!
Barbara De Santis
There are some lesson plans on ReadWriteThink that take on evaluating online resources. These might be helpful, depending upon the grade level where you teach:
There is also a Website Evaluation Form interactive that steps students through analysis questions. The Website Evaluation Form is a printable PDF version of the same questions. The grades 9-12 lesson Building Vietnam War Scavenger Hunts through Web-Based Inquiry shows the form and tool in use/
Thanks for your evaluation files/sites. My students are always asking me whether a site can be used or not for their lab reports. The PDF file you have on your post is perfect. I often tell the students to look at the audience and author for the site to find whether it is useful/reliable or not. We used to be able to say "no .com, only .org or .edu", but now we know how easy it is to purchase any of these. It is not as simple as that, there are many things to consider.
I teach my middle schoolers to consider the following factors when evaluating online information:
1-Authorship: who wrote the information contained on the website? Can you find him/her if you search for on Google? What does he/she have to do with the topic? What is his/her professional background?
2-Sponsorship: is the website sponsored by a group of any kind? What can you find out about the group? What involvement do they have with the topic?
3-Timeliness: how current is the information?
4-Corroboration: as you are searching for information, are you finding the same information on different sites? Is there agreement about the facts?
5-Motivation: are there reasons why someone would not want to present the truth or bend it in some way? Is the topic one in which people might be expressing opinions and making them seem like facts?
I tell them to think like the detectives they see on shows like CSI--consider all the possibilities and cover all the bases!
I really like the CSI comparison. That's a great analogy to use—and it could be extended to talk about why you have to cite your sources. None of those shows would take the criminal to court and then just weave in information without citing the evidence and where it came from!