Right now I'm working with our 8th grade English classes on how to evaluate a website for credibility, accuracy, and overall usability. A few targeted questions I might use to check for understanding quickly are the following: * What does the URL extension tell me about the purpose of a website? * What does the website's organization and navigation tell me about its usability? * Is there enough information on my topic here to make the website worth my time? Why or why not? * Where can I find the copyright holder? * What can the copyright tell me about the website's credibility? * If a webpage has an identifiable author, what does that tell me about the information I might find here?
For the classes I teach and partner with, most often students are completing work electronically. I really like the idea of creating worksheets or handouts with standardized fields, like the one pictured on page 42. Even on an electronic handout, I could make clear visual spaces where I ask student to respond to questions or complete work. As I walk around during independent practice, I could quickly see which questions students find engaging, difficult, or unclear. T-charts would be another good example, even for the above questions in my first answer. To evaluate a website, one side of the chart could be for "more credible" and the other for "less credible." Students could write down evidence for either on the appropriate side of the chart.
This week I will be teaching 8th grade students how to manually cite a webpage. One question I might ask is, "How do I know who publishes a website?" a. Follow-up question for a correct response: "Right, it's whoever holds the copyright. And where can I find that copyright information on a website?" b. Possible wrong answer: "It's whoever wrote the information on the webpage." c. First question to follow an incorrect response: "Is the publisher of a website always the same person or organization who writes information on a webpage?" d. Hand signals might be a little tricky for this question since it's open-ended. I might give students options and ask for hand signals for which answer they think is correct. Example: 1) webpage author 2) copyright holder 3) name of website