Information Literacy & Technology


"Now that children are choosing to use the Internet as their personal media, we are faced with consequence of not teaching them to decode the content."
(Alan November)
"We need to teach the critical thinking skills to understand the structure of information and how to cross reference the source."
(Alan November)
The Internet is a place where you can find proof of any belief system that you can imagine.




Children believe that because something is on the internet it must be true. It is our job to develop the critical thinking skills that will allow our students to look at information more critically. Students must be trained to identify the purpose of a writing or website as well as identify the credibility of the author.
With the development of what has been called Web 2.0, anyone can publish information on the web in real time. The amount of information available on the web is growing at an amazing rate. Wiki's, Blogs, Podcasts, and social networking sites are the new wave of information available online. As educators, we not only need to understand their advantages and disadvantages, we must educate or students to decipher fact from opinion or advocacy.

an article by Howard Rheingold writing about the importance of developing critical and analytic skills:

Loss of certainty about authority and credibility is one of the prices we pay for the freedom of democratized publishing. We can no longer trust the author to guarantee the veracity of work; today’s media navigators must develop critical skills in order to find their way through the oceans of information, misinformation, and disinformation now available. The ability to analyze, investigate, and argue about what we read, see, and hear is an essential survival skill. Some bloggers can and do spread the most outrageously inaccurate and fallaciously argued information; it is up to the readers and, most significantly, other bloggers to actively question the questionable. Democratizing publishing creates a quality problem, the answer to which is—democratizing criticism. Critical thinking is not something that philosophers do, but a necessary skill in a mediasphere where anybody can publish and the veracity of what you read can never be assumed.



Information Literacy -A PowerPoint presentation that looks at Alan Novembers strategy of teaching Information Literacy with regards to the web.
Teaching Zach To Think- An article written by Alan November that identifies an example of a student not critically analyzing information they find online. This article offers steps and strategies to teach the required online literacy skills --- A MUST READ!

Information Literacy Resources - Alan November's Site with Resources for teaching Information Literacy.

A listing of HOAX websites - - A listing of hoax websites that can be used for lessons and activities.




Evaluating Websites - Additional Resources


A listing of HOAX websites -

1. Evaluating Information - A Guide to Websites.
- This is a one page list of guiding questions to consider while viewing a website. This guide is best suited to high school and college students.

2. Gary Library Website Evaluation Checklist.
- A two page document containing checklists in six different categories for determining the validity and quality of online information. "Smiley" icons provide clues for younger students. Suitable for middle school and high school use.

3. Evaluating the Quality of Sources.
- A one page document outlining a list of questions to consider as you evaluate a website. This document recommends and provides a link for checking the WHOIS domain registry.

4. Boolify Lesson Plan for Evaluating Websites.
- A simple lesson plan from Boolify.org that is appropriate for grades four through nine (give or take a grade).

5. Bear Essentials Evaluating Websites.
- This document is part of series of documents about finding and evaluating online and print references. These documents were produced by the Baton Rouge Community College.

Online Lessons and Activities
6. Cyber Smart Lesson Plans and Student Activities.
- Provides more than a dozen lesson plans and activities appropriate for grades K-12. Lessons cover everything from finding websites to evaluating websites.

7. Kathy Shrock's ABC's of Website Evaluation.
- Tried and true lesson plans, online activities, and handouts for teaching website evaluation. The resources found here can be adapted for use in elementary school, middle school, and high school.

8. Cornell University Library - Evaluating Websites.
- Geared toward college students, the resources here can be accessed by high school students. Many links out to other resources on the topic of website evaluation.

9. How to Use the Internet - A resource provided by the BBC with interactive modules and quizzes that cover all aspects of Internet Use and Safety

10. Lessons for Teaching Copyright - http://www.teachingcopyright.org/

11. Digital Literacy - http://mmorley.blogspot.com/2009/06/digital-literacy.html - An interactive site that teaches about digital literacy. Can be used as a whole group instructional tool or you can have students work through it on their own. There is a link to a teacher guide.

12. Interactive Site with Handouts to learn about the web. - Covers interent search, using your browser, safety etc. - http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/welcome/start.htm

13. Common Sense Media
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators
Common Sense Media provides lessons and resources for teaching digital literacy. The content is organized by grade level. They also offer parent materials.


For Brushing-up on Your Own Skills
9. Evaluating Websites for Learners.
- Created by Maggie Verster, this presentation provides justification for teachers previewing websites, creating their own search engines, links to resources for teaching website evaluation. Presentation is embedded below.

Evaluating Websites For Learners