Most classrooms today use digital sources for multiple projects. Developing digitally literate students will prepare our students for the real world. But how many teachers are teaching students how to check the validity of the millions of sources that are available at our students digital fingertips?
As a literacy teacher, this question resembles one I encountered years ago. I ask my students to listen during lessons, but have my students been taught “how” to listen? This question changed the way I teach. So, I ask this question, we want our students to use digital resources, but have we taught them “how” to use valid resources?
Oh…we teach them how to cite sources, locate sources, paraphrase sources, and so on, but do we teach them how to check the validity of these sources. After all, we don’t want them quoting inaccurate information. That would defeat the entire purpose of teaching research skills.
I have 5 tips straight from the Google training pages for you to use in your classrooms . These 5 tips will help you teach your students how to check the validity of their resources.
1. Look at the URL.
Does it end in a phrase that fits its content?
Example: .gov-history resources; .edu- educational resources etc.
Students should notice the end of the URL to see if it matches their research topic.
2. What is the point of view of the site?
Is the author biased? Is there a motive behind this bias? If so, be sure to take that into consideration.
Example: Students are researching rainforest preservation. The site it managed and written by a logging industry. Will this site be biased? Will it contain information that is trying to persuade or is its intention to simply inform its readers?
3. Look up the site’s author or creator.
Are they represented as valid or experts in their field? What career do they hold? What other sources or media can you find about them. Is it reputable?
4. How does the site appear?
Some sites look amazingly put together and fancy with clickable links and GIFs. But don’t be fooled. Just because a site is fancy doesn’t mean it is presented by an expert in its field. Be sure to read other articles by the site’s authors or check into the affiliate links that may be provided for their reputation in the field you are researching.
5. Use the rule of 3.
The rule of 3 in this situation means to find 3 sources on the same topic. Read them all and decide how they compare in professionalism to the others. Is there one that presents information different from the others? Do they all contain the same facts? If you find that 2 are similar and one is different, it is a sign to investigate a little further.
Here is a quick reference sheet you can post or provide to your students when teaching or using this lesson in your classroom. Click HERE to grab your copy.
If you’d like more literacy technology tips and tricks plus FREE video tutorials visit my home page and sign up to join the Link2Teach team. (Found directly under the sliding post bar.)
Enjoy your technology filled literacy classrooms!
*Update: Newsela has some great articles for teachers and students on media literacy that fit nicely with this topic. Check it out HERE.