Monday, March 17, 2014

PA Core Writing & Tech: If It's on the Internet, It Must Be True!

One of my favorite commercials is from State Farm. You know, the one with the "French model" boyfriend and the girl that says, "They can't put anything on the Internet that isn't true."

Unfortunately, some of our students also might think that everything on the Internet is true, and that's why it's important that we equip them with Web evaluation tools. Several years ago, Kathy Schrock developed The 5 W's of Web Site Evaluation, which I've adapted and used over the years to teach these important concepts. (Schrock has listed many more resources for teaching critical evaluation of information on her web site.)

The 5 W's of Web Site Evaluation are easy for students to remember and use. In summary:
1.  Who?
Who published the web site? What are their qualifications? Are they experts on the topic? Do they provide contact information or a bibliography on the site?

2.  What?
What is the purpose of the web site? Does the author or sponsor show bias? Is the site easy to use and navigate?

3.  When?
When was the site created? Has it been updated recently? Is it important that the information be updated regularly?

4.  Where?
Where did the author get the posted information? Did he provide citations?

5.  Why?
Why should I use this information? Is this page better than others I found on the same topic?

Please share these rules for web site evaluation with students before you assign your next research project. Or let me know if you'd like me to present such a lesson for you.

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