Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Digital Citizenship Week: Evaluating Websites

With information being so prevalent and available, how do we teach our students to examine online sources for credibility and think critically about possible bias and inaccurate information? This takes more than one lesson. It must be something that is integrated into teaching and learning on a daily basis whether sources are found online or within text. Here's some ideas to get your students started.

Studying Exploration? Visit It is a website created by a library media specialist and teacher that provides an "authentic" research site for students to explore. There is a lot of truth on the site, mixed with fiction. For example, did you know that Columbus died in 1906 even though he was born in 1951? He also had the pleasure of appearing on Larry King to celebrate being the first person to walk on American Soil. There are a lot more on this website and provides a great resource to begin the conversation on credibility.

Studying Animals and Habitats? Do your students care about Endangered Animals? Visit and learn the plight of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. Students can learn more about this "endangered" species and how to help. Lead students in a critical analysis of what makes this site credible and/or possible suspect.

Here's some additional lesson ideas from Common Sense Media to help students become more critical consumers of online media.
K-2: Sites I Like, Things for Sale
3-5: Selling Stereotypes
6-8: Identifying High Quality Sites
9-12: Building Community Online, Becoming a Web Celeb


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