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