The capacity to recognize, locate, assess, and use information effectively is known as information literacy (Information Literacy, 2017). a talent that is today essential given the availability and abundance of information. In order to combat the widespread dissemination of false information, educators must encourage students’ information literacy growth. Students must establish savvy research habits to prevent being misled, yet the field of research has evolved over the past few decades.
You want your pupils to conduct research online for a project, essay, narrative, or presentation of some kind. Students are clicking and searching as the minutes pass, but are they really obtaining the relevant and reliable material they need for their project? Although accessing the amount of knowledge available online should be simpler than ever thanks to the fact that many classrooms are now well-equipped with technology and the internet, there are still several challenges. Students (and instructors) must manoeuvre through:
How to use Google and other search engines to enter search terms. What search results should you read and click on (while avoiding inappropriate or irrelevant websites or advertisements)? How to select content that is reliable, pertinent, and student-friendly. How to analyse, process, synthesize, and provide the details. How to evaluate the credibility and relevance of a variety of sources by comparing them. How to properly cite sources. How it makes sense why things frequently don’t go as planned when you instruct your pupils to just “google” their subject. Some students also have to deal with issues including poor reading levels, restricted internet access, language problems, learning challenges, and impairments. Information literacy is a broad term that encompasses all abilities linked to conducting internet research. The more general category of “digital literacy” is where information literacy often fits in. Kathleen Morris (2018)
Savvy Info Consumers: Evaluating Information, a comprehensive resource available from the UW Libraries, addresses various sources and how to assess their authenticity and trustworthiness. Depending on how a source is used, different things might be meant by the terms “credible” or “reliable.” A reputable or dependable source is one that experts in your field agree is appropriate for your needs. It is advisable to select the source assessment technique that best suits your needs because this might vary. It’s crucial to critically assess sources since they help you become a better writer by being trustworthy and reputable. Consider untrustworthy sources as contaminants that might damage your reputation; if you use them in your job, your work may suffer as a result.
So how can we equip our students with the habits and skills to successfully be curious and combat the side effects of immediate information? How can we enable students to find reliable sources on the Internet? And how do they detect bad sources? To answer these questions, I contend that the teacher’s energy must be invested in teaching information skills that are process-focused and supported by collaborative learning structures.
ISTE 3: Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts, and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.
My question is, “How can we support learners to find answers and information from reliable sources in order to answer their questions, and how can we guide them to discover unreliable sources?”
Use these techniques to teach students in middle and high school how to recognize bias, correctness, and dependability in the information they read. Clear descriptions and discussions of these characteristics are beneficial to students who are learning to make informed decisions regarding the general calibre of the material on a website. Discuss with your pupils the various facets of critical analysis. These characteristics are described in terms of how significant they are to a certain reading goal or an expressly expressed information demand. Give them several chances to apply these techniques to actual research by taking the time to model how to assess each dimension. Demonstration sessions can centre on how to: confirm and dispute online material; look into the author’s qualifications; recognize prejudice and attitude; and bargain with diverse points of view; cross-check assertions using other sources. Adolescents should have several chances to see the benefits of having a healthy scepticism about the material they come across, both online and offline. Your curriculum may serve as a fantastic starting point for exposing students to other viewpoints and novel methods of approaching topics. I’ll end by providing you with a list of techniques you may utilize or modify for your students as they develop their capacity for critical thought while undertaking internet research.
Finally, here is a list of strategies that students can use or adapt to their needs to develop their critical thinking skills as they conduct research online. Is this website relevant to my needs and objectives? What does this page aim to achieve? Who created the information on this website? What is this person’s level of expertise? When was the information on this website updated? Where can I check the accuracy of this information? Why did this person or group post this information on the Internet? Does the website only represent one side of the issue, or does it offer multiple perspectives? How are the information and images on this site shaped by the attitude of the author? Will the information on this site offend or hurt anyone? How can you connect these ideas to your own questions and interpretations?(Julie Coiro, 2014)
Coiro, J. (2017) Teaching adolescents how to evaluate the quality of online information, Edutopia. George Lucas Educational Foundation. Available at: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/evaluating-quality-of-online-info-julie-coiro
Mike Eisenberg, Doug Johnson and Bob Berkowitz Revised February (2010) Information, communications, and Technology (ICT) skills curriculum … Available at:https://blogportfolio6.files.wordpress.com/2023/02/c9428-lmc_big6-ict_curriculum_lmc_mayjune2010.pdf
Morris, K. (2020) How to teach online research skills to students in 5 steps (free ebook and posters), Kathleen Morris Blog Primary Tech | Helping teachers create digitally literate global learners. Available at: https://www.kathleenamorris.com/2018/02/23/research-filter/
Library guides: FAQ: How do I know if my sources are credible/reliable? (no date) How do I know if my sources are credible/reliable? – FAQ – Library Guides at University of Washington Libraries. Available at: https://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/faq/reliable