Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tutorial & Game: Checking the Accuracy of a Website

This is the Accuracy MicroModule from the 21st Century Information Project. For more modules visit the website.

The accuracy of factual information can help you judge the credibility of the author. Accuracy of information can also provide clues to possible bias in the resource under investigation.

Most web pages are not reviewed or edited by professional editors or publishers. Anyone can post just about anything they want on the Internet. A second grader can claim to be a Nobel prize winner. A Russian professor can be mistaken for an American child due to lack of familiarity with the English language. Satirists or hoax perpetrators can build websites that present an alternate reality.

Don't rely on first impressions. Ask Questions!

A good way to check factual data is by asking probing questions.

Practice this critical thinking skill until it is second nature.

Ask yourself:

What claims is the author making?
What evidence does the author give to support those claims?
What evidence do I find elsewhere to support those claims?
What evidence do I find elsewhere to refute those claims?

How can you check the accuracy of information on a web page? Find the Evidence! Look for:

proper nouns
essential keywords

Use these embedded information accuracy clues to check the facts by using a search engine to confirm or refute the facts under investigation.

Triangulation of Data: This is a standard for serious research. Find at least three sources that agree on the same data point. If you can't find three credible resources that confirm the data, be suspicious!

For example, the distance from the earth to the sun is 93 million miles, fluctuating up to 3 million miles due to its elliptical orbit. Some resources will just say 90 million miles, some 93 million miles and stop there. Until you have three sources that agree on a number, you don't really know for sure. Remember triangulation of data is crucial when checking accuracy.

Is it Accurate? Shall we play a game?

Test your skills at:

finding embedded evidence

checking evidence for accuracy
triangulation of data

Launch Game!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Care to Moodle your Google (GDocs that is)?

Learn the basics of GDocs collaboration in ths week long fully facilitated online class. Learn a bit about G-Docs, get introduced to Moodle based online learning, and have some fun!

It's a simple search puzzle to find us: Use Google to search with these keywords:

information fluency

Follow the first link and you'll be on the path to an interesting and inexpensive online learning experience!

Questions, as always, will be cheerfully answered!

~ Dennis

Monday, November 10, 2008

Website Evaluation

In this podcast interview with Frances Jacobson Harris we uncover barriers and strategies for assessing the credibility of online resources.

Frances Jacobson Harris, University Laboratory High School librarian (UIUC) and author of a chapter in the book Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility, talks about Web page evaluation in this podcast from the 21st Century Information Fluency Project.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Information Fluency Resources

Rediscover the resources waiting for you on the 21st Century Information Fluency Project

Information Fluency Social Bookmarking Resources

These tools let you store and share your bookmarks online. Once you’ve configured your account and customized your browser it becomes easy to bookmark, describe and tag your Internet discoveries. Just click the toolbar icon and you will be prompted to save your bookmarks (including comments and tags) to the online service you have chosen.

Information Fluency Copyright Resources

  • Detailed 'webliography' of copyright and fair use resources. Includes links to micromodules and flash games. Annotations give you a solid idea of the content of each website. Prepared by 21st Century Information Fluency Staff

    tags: copyright, fair_use, annotated bibliography

Website Evaluation Wizard (21st Century Information Project

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Center for Social Media at American University

Will this group help educators redefine fair use and broaden the meaning to include use of coprrighted material to spark student's' critical thinking.  The stance: Stop being afraid;  fair use is your protection to use copyright materials as part of your teaching.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

YouTube - The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fair Use: Protection for Transformative Thinking?

We all know that copyright & fair use are 'gray area' issues in this web 2.0 world of ours. It's difficult to teach these concepts without also considering the exceptions and 'what if' scenarios that we bump into daily on the open web. It's also fair to say that we now operate in a climate of fear that we'll some how transgress in the use of copyrighted materials and find ourselves dragged into some awful publicly accountable show down.

We now have a thought provoking article from Joyce Valenza that shifts the argument to the concept of 'transformativeness' while promoting the idea that fair use should ''preserve the ability of users to promote creativity and innovation."

I urge you all to read:

Fair use and transformativeness: It may shake your world

"As I watched the information and communication landscapes shift over the past few years, I secretly viewed fair use as a doctrine that guided what we couldn't do. Fear and guilt seemed regularly in the way of innovative teaching and creative expression. I was reluctant to use, or bless the use, of copyrighted materials--movies, television, advertising, popular music, etc.--in teaching and student projects, especially those that were broadcast or published online. To avoid danger, I guided teachers and learners to the use of copyright-friendly materials. As wonderful as these growing collections are, sometimes what you really need to use is commercial or more conservatively licensed materials.

Recently my Temple University colleague, Renee Hobbs shared, what was for me, a relatively foreign (but perhaps obvious) idea: copyright is designed not only to protect the rights of owners, but also to preserve the ability of users to promote creativity and innovation."

(Go to original article.)

(School Library Journal; the Never Ending Search. April 1, 2008)

Google Documents (Fully Facilitated 5 Day Online Class)

Moodle Based Fully Facilitated!

Login as guest:

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

How much time will this take?

Plan for at least 5 hours of instruction (about an hour a day). It will be easy to put in more time than that. We hope you'll find the information so interesting that the time will fly by.

Do I have to login at a specific time each day?

The course is completely time shifted. It's designed so that participants can enter the online classroom 24/7 and still interact. This let's you fit the class to your schedule. We'll go Monday - Friday, with the following Saturday to wrap things up.

What will I learn how to do?

  • Create a Google account

  • Upload documents to Google docs

  • Share a Google document with a colleague

  • View the revision history of a shared document (a wiki like function of Gdocs)

  • Publish a shared document as a web page that automatically updates when the source document is edited.

  • We also have an optional independent study module on how to use Google Docs offline.

How is this course taught?

Instruction includes the use of illustrated webpages and video. Additionally Dennis O'Connor will be facilitating this class. (Dennis is a highly trained online teacher.) There are discussion forums where participants can share ideas. The instructor will also be monitoring the class for questions and be available for trouble shooting help.

What about teaching resources?

You will find many resources with ideas for teachers and librarians interested in using Google Docs in the classroom.

How long will I have access to this course?

The course remains open to you for at least three months so you can continue study and have access to the resources.

How do I register?

  • First establish an account on Note the graphic on the course home page. (Each person taking the class should create their own account.)

  • Next login using your established username and password.

  • Click into the Gdocs online classroom.(Found in the Information Fluency Category.)

  • When you first enter you'll be presented with a PayPal registration page.

  • Click through to pay for the class by credit card.

  • You do not need a Pay Pal account to use this secure system. (We do not store your credit card information.)

  • Once you have paid you'll be returned to the Gdocs class.

  • The next course begins December 1, 2008
We hope to see you online!