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I Read It on the Internet:
Teaching About Web Literacy


Lesson Planning Channel

Can you trust everything you read on the Internet? Can you trust anything you read on the Internet? Teach your kids which Web sites to trust!


The words you are reading now have been read -- and reread -- by several experienced editors and educators. They are words you can trust -- posted at a site you can trust.

At a time, however, when any ignoramus -- or satirist or bigot or fool with an ax to grind -- can create a professional-looking Web site, how do you know which sites you can trust? At a time when adults book vacations in Ruritania, how do kids distinguish between The WhiteHouse.org (a site you definitely don't want to show your students) and The WhiteHouse.gov? Lessons in media literacy must be carefully taught, and the lessons below on Web site content evaluation can help.

A brief description of each activity appears below. Click any headline for a complete teaching resource.

 

Who Said That?
Students complete a tutorial on Web literacy and use what they learn to evaluate a Web site. (Grades K-2, 3-5)

 

Digging for Gold!
Students complete a tutorial on Web literacy and find the answers to an online scavenger hunt. (Grades 6-8)

 

Sites and Stereotypes
Students use online resources to create portraits of present-day American Indians. (Grades 6-8, 9-12)

 

True or False?
Students complete a tutorial on Web literacy and identify Web hoaxes.
(Grades 9-12)

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Media Awareness Network
This site provides a thorough discussion of the characteristics, interests, and needs of students in several age ranges; explores the online strategies most likely to appeal to each age group; and explains the media literacy skills students should learn.

Evaluating Internet-Based Information: A Goals-Based Approach
In this article, Internet educator David Warlick discusses the uses and abuses of modern informational tools. The site includes a Web-based form for evaluating Internet content sources.

Privacy Playground: The First Adventure of the Three Little CyberPigs
The Media Awareness Network provides this downloadable tutorial for kids in the primary grades. Cartoon characters teach young children to protect themselves from online dangers and scams. You'll have to plan ahead; the free software takes almost 40 minutes to download. You'll also want to turn off the sound; the music is annoying and tedious. The information is good, though. The format is appealing, and the video includes questions to keep students involved and a pause button to allow for classroom discussion. The site also provides a teacher's guide and printable student work sheets.

Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning
The American Association of School Librarians provides standards for information literacy.

Ten C's for Evaluating Internet Sources
The University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire provides these criteria for evaluating Internet resources.

Better Read That Again: Web Hoaxes and Misinformation
This very thorough and informative article on Internet sites that are not what they seem provides fascinating examples of the dangers to people who cannot distinguish between the true experts, the merely misinformed, and the truly ugly in Web site creators.

 

Updated 10/19/2011

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