What are Your Favorite Tools and Techniques for Helping Students Learn how to Assess Web Content?
One of my favorite lessons to teach is about evaluating the credibility of web sites and other digital content. I often start by showing the classic “Can't Lie On The Internet” video from AllState, which gets a laugh and helps to get students in the right mind set.
Next, we check out the classic “DHMO” site and talk about what we see there. Dihydrogen Monoxide sounds pretty scary, but is this site legitimate? That's when I bring up Kathy Schrock's 5 W's PDF and use it as a kick off point to discuss the idea of using criteria for evaluation, not just gut reactions.
Another tool I came across recently that I like is this 60 Second Guide for evaluating web resources. This touches on some important considerations that are not in the 5 W's guide. While writing this article, I came across the “CRAAP” test, which is very good and rather amusing (although maybe not such a good idea for younger students).
There are countless resources on the web for evaluating content credibility, and it is easy to get a bit overwhelmed. I find myself wanting to boil them down to a single listing more to my liking. Well, maybe I'll get around to that one of these days …
The Challenges of Video and Social Media Credibility
Another challenge when it comes to evaluating credibility is in regard to video content. Kids today spend so much time consuming web based video, they should definitely be encouraged to cast a critical eye on what they watch and not be dupped by misinformation. A great video to get them thinking about that is this one:
Of course, one only has to scan the comments in the video (be warned there are plenty of “NSFS” comments here) to realize that it isn't legitimate, but what about the first viewers, before all those comments were there? You can certainly apply criteria like the 5W's to assessing video content, but it is a bit challenging since there is so much less content to assess than on a typical web page.
Do you know of any good rubrics geared towards evaluating the credibility of video content, or do you think web page and site evaluations work reasonably well?
Social media offers yet another potential challenge when it comes to evaluating web content. Social media is the wild, wild west of content. Kids know that, but it is still pretty easy to see something out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and think, “that looks legit” and start telling your friends how you ‘heard' such and such.
As with video, tools like CRAAP and the 5 W's aren't as good for evaluating social media as they are for web pages. The fundamental concepts still apply though, so they are still useful for getting students to think about social media content credibility.
Another Great Resource: Snopes.com
One last tool I like to share with students when discussing the legitimacy and credibility of web content is Snopes.com. Snopes is a great place to learn whether or not some viral content is legit. They do a great job of staying on top of urban legends and myths, Internet scams, and so on. If there is some rumor making its way across the ‘Net, Snopes will typically have the legit scoop on it.
Are you required to help students learn about evaluating content as part of a course you teach? What are your favorite resources and approaches to evaluating content? Curious minds want to know …