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Lesson 2

When making a decision to buy something, you ask yourself several questions:

  • Can I afford it?
  • Is it good quality?
  • Does it fit me?
  • Is it something I need?
  • Do I like the way it looks/tastes/feels/works?

Although you may not consciously ask yourself these questions, many of these thoughts may go through your head as you consider various criteria:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Fit
  • Necessity
  • Look/Feel

A Good Fit

The same may be applied to Web sites. Before using a Web site, it is important that you ask yourself several questions to ensure "a good fit." In fact, these questions are similar to those you may consider when shopping. However, instead of shopping for food, clothes, or a car, you are shopping for information. Not only are you shopping for Web sites to fit your needs, you are also looking for sites that meet your students needs. In addition, the Web sites and resources that you find should meet your state or district standards and fit well into your classroom and curriculum.

Schools, Universities, and Libraries

Traditionally, people have used schools, universities, and libraries as sources of information when they have a question or are looking for information. Although the Internet is now a major source of information, the evaluation resources continue to come from the traditional sources (schools, universities, and libraries.) Evaluation resources, however, are now online. Many of the resources available in this module come from schools, universities, and libraries. You will find that they are a great resource for providing guidance in evaluating Web sites.

Why Evaluate?

Why should you evaluate information on the Internet? Isn't it true if it's on the Web? Some students believe that if it's been published whether online or in print then it must be true. Students need to realize that anyone can publish to the Web and everyone does.

The Internet has been compared to many things, an ocean, a forest, the universe, a shopping mall, and a garage sale. All contain a variety of desirable and less than desirable things. Therefore criteria is needed to help us decide what to use and what to ignore. Criteria is evidence of a site's value. Lesley University's eight criteria in Criteria for the Classroom challenges us to "sort out the gems from the junk on the Internet" by looking at:

  • Purpose
  • Authority
  • Objectivity
  • Appropriateness
  • Currency
  • Responsibility
  • Clarity
  • Accessibility

What Do You Like?

Think about some Web sites that you often use. What is it about the Web sites that you like? Multnomah County Library presents a good article on What Makes a Web Site Good.

Below are several more resources for evaluating Web sites. Although they are all very similar, each has its own list of criteria. Read through each resource noting the criteria that you would like your students to follow. Create your own list of criteria appropriate to your grade level to use in your classroom. Although some of the resources contain over ten criteria, try to create a list of the main five to eight criteria for your students to use when evaluating Web sites.

More Criteria

When evaluating a Web site, Kathy Schrock suggests using The ABCs of Web Site Evaluation that includes criteria from A to Z. The University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire offers the 10 C's for Evaluating Internet Resources. Jim Kapoun, a reference and instruction librarian at Southwest State University, has Five criteria for Web evaluation. (Teach for Tomorrow references Jim's Five Criteria for Web evaluation.)

Another way to learn about evaluating Web sites is through online tutorials. John R. Henderson, a reference librarian at Ithaca College, created a Web tutorial titled T is for Thinking. Explore the tutorial making note of the criteria while trying the activities.

Now that you have explored various resources of Web site evaluation criteria, what criteria and questions will your students use to evaluate Web sites?

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