How do I get my secondary ELA students to use their critical thinking skills while reading articles on the web, to understand that not everything they read is true and what they can do to find out if an article is from a credible source?
While pondering this question, this week, I found myself looking for an engaging video to share with the class about the importance of reliable sources while doing research. I found myself on the YouTube channel CrashCourse which has a variety of engaging videos, geared toward middle and high school students, to help them better understand certain topics. The topics range from science, to math, to study skills. As I looked over the Study Skills section, I noticed they review papers and essays. Although the entire video (which is less than 10 minutes long) doesn't pertain to my question, the short section regarding research does give ideas on how to find reliable resources on the web. Their big suggestions were to use the library, which i think is often times overlooked as we live in a such a digital age, journal sites such as EBSCO, the bibliography or note section of popular non-fiction research based books, and Google Scholar. They also mention Wikipedia and how, although it is not a reliable source, the source section of the page may be a valuable resource when looking for reliable sources. I think this video would be good to show to the class as an introduction to research and essay writing. After showing the video, more instruction on research can be discussed as an introduction to essay writing.
Since we do live in such a digital world, I found the article What ICT-related skills and capabilities should be considered central to the definition of digital literacy? to be very relevant and important. The article essentially explains how we live in a world where "the convergence of print, visual images, social networking, online gaming and the ease of editing and producing music and film are evidence of the convergence of media and the scope for learners to create and share meaning in multiple formats." We live in a time where students need to be taught media literacy just as they are taught non-digital literacy as the two collide and share space in a learning environment. Without the knowledge of both, students aren't given the tools to be "capable of evaluating the relevance, currency, reliability, completeness and accuracy of online information, in addition to participating in today's digital culture." In turn, I need to teach my students to be an information literate person, to identify, scope, plan, gather, evaluate, manage, and present their findings. To do this, I could add to my essay writing introduction lesson and have students look over two different websites - one that is false or fake and one that is reliable - both touching on the same topic. I could ask my students to find the author, who publishes the page, and why they think the webpage is bogus or in fact a reliable source of information. We could even go over a Wikipedia page and point out why it is not a reliable source but show students where they can click on the sources for the page and how to decide if those sources are reliable or not, as well. We can also talk about how a page may be reliable but you also have to consider the tone of the author and their personal views and how they may reflect in the articles or webpage.
All in all, I took from this week, was that it is my responsibility to teach my students how to find reliable sources and give them the tools to be information literate people so they can succeed, not just in my classroom, but in their future education as well as the world around them.
McLoughlin, C. (2011). What ICT-related skills and capabilities should be considered central to the definition of digital literacy?. World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, 2011 (1), 471-475.
Paper and Essays: Crash Course Study Skill #9. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlgR1q3UQZE&t=21s on February 18, 2018.