We need to give the kids the SKILLS to assess information sources, not just tools that will do it for them! I would suggest you stop looking for a tool that assesses the quality of a website, and start by teaching them what makes a quality website. I'm sure the checklists you found will repeat much of this information:
- Authority - search for the author of the page, if one is present, do a search to see if he/she has done any other work in the field, if one is not present, is the page by a well know organization?
- Accuracy - fact check. Make sure the information found on the page can be found in at least 2 other sources. Do they say where their information came from? Can you check their sources?
- Timeliness - is the information recent? Was the page updated recently? Does it need to be recent for the particular topic you are researching?
- Presentation - Is the page visually appealing? Is there only text or only images? Is the layout pleasing or boring? While this may seem like a strange one, websites that are visually appealing tend to have been created by someone/some company that is more likely to use quality authors.
- Usability - Is the information on the page useful to you in your project? Does it answer any of your research questions? This is a hard one to teach because sometimes students don't know how to answer it. They often feel that if a site is somehow loosely related to their topic, it's a good source.
While I recognize this is a difficult skill set to teach fourth graders, its far more important to learn than finding a short cut! How can they LEARN to do something if they have it done for them? Students need to think about information critically, not use a Consumer Reports type website to tell you which source is the best.
Check with your school librarian to see if they have any ideas or would like to collaborate on a project with you!
Thanks for your input. I do use several of the criteria listed on the checklists (yours included), but I do think it could be useful if there were some kind of app or site that could help with the process, which can be time consuming and difficult. I am not one for cutting corners (and I do not expect my students to cut corners), but I do believe shortcuts can be valuable (shortcuts don't necessarily mean one is cutting corners). I teach students to multiply, but I also teach them that it is far more efficient (and reasonable) to use a calculator to multiply multi-digit numbers and decimals (whereas, it is more efficient to NOT use a calculator, or even paper and pencil, to multiply math facts, multiples of ten, or problems such as 28 x 6: (20 x 6) + (8 x 6)).
Likewise, I teach my students how to assess websites, but they are more likely to actually go through with it if the process had a boost, and it is even possible that, given a strong enough app, the process would even be more accurate.
If you want to make it that simple, I'd recommend having your students use databases that your library likely subscribes to, which guarantees reliable sources. I don't see this as the same thing as teaching students multiplication, but letting them use the calculator (but perhaps that's because this is what I do for a living!)
Have you seen the 21st Century Information Fluency Project WSI? http://21cif.com/wsi/index.html
Probably not the short cut you are looking for, but a great way to teach the topic.
Also, if you school subscribes to EasyBib, they are starting to evaluate sources, or at least let you know which ones are not very good.
If I understand this correctly, you want to help students how to identify how reliable the information on the site is. I've been using the WOT add-on with Chrome lately. When a website loads, WOT provides information on the reputation of the website. This add-on does not have information for all sites. One other concern is that the information is provided by any visitor - thus it might not always be accurate. My favorite aspect is the "trustworthy" data. From my experience this is a good starting point to help students identify a reputable website.
Kathy Schrock always provides great resources and you can find her evaluating the web links here Critical Evaluation - Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything I have used the Quick site with younger students -
Good Luck and share your findings with us....
I love the Quality Information Checklist! I've used with for years with students. It really works:)
It is a little dated, but still relevant. I have them work in pairs to visit the tips and then they take the quiz.
I used to do an activity with my students (6th graders) - it has been awhile - but I know I used this site as one of the examples - Save The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus - it took awhile for the kids to realize this was not a real site - that the information was not reliable (or real) - and that started the lesson of "how do we know what is a reliable site". We together generated a list of what to look at on a website.
There are a number of the hoax sites to use - here is another one: Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division - dihydrogen monoxide info
The Internet can be a wonderful reporting tool for journalists. Data that once was only found in paper documents can now often be accessed with the click of a mouse, and research that once took hours or days can be done in minutes.
But for every reputable website there are probably 100 that are full of information that's inaccurate, unreliable or worse. Here are eight ways to tell if a website is reliable.
1. Look for Sites from Established Institutions The web is full of websites that were started five minutes ago. What you want are sites associated with trusted institutions that have been around for awhile and have a proven track record of reliability and integrity.
2. Look for Sites With Expertise
You wouldn't go to an auto mechanic if you broke your leg, and you wouldn't go to the hospital to have your car repaired. I'm making an obvious point: Look for websites that specialize in the kind of information you're seeking. So if you're writing a story on a flu outbreak, check out medical websites, and so on.
3. Steer Clear of Commercial Sites
Sites run by companies and business - their websites usually end in .com - are more often than not trying to sell you something. And if they're trying to sell you something, chances are whatever information they're presenting will be tilted in favor of their product.
4. Beware Bias
Reporters write a lot about politics, and there are plenty of political websites out there. But many of them are run by groups that have a bias in favor of one political party or philosophy. A conservative website isn't likely to report objectively on a liberal politician, and vice versa. Steer clear of sites with a political ax to grind and instead look for ones that are non-partisan.
5. Check the Date
As a reporter you need for the most up-to-date information available, so if a website seems old, it's probably best to steer clear. One way to check - look for a "last updated" date on the page or site.
6. Look at the Site's Look
If a site looks poorly designed and amateurish, chances are it was created by amateurs. Steer clear. But be careful - just because a website is professionally designed doesn't mean it's reliable.
7. Avoid Anonymous Authors
Articles or studies whose authors are named are often - though not always - more reliable than works produced anonymously. It makes sense: If someone is willing to put their name on something they've written, chance are they stand by the information it contains. And if you have the name of the author, you can always Google him or her to check their credentials.
8. Check the Links
Reputable websites often link to each other. See which sites the website you're on links to. Then go to Google and enter this in the search field:
This will show you which sites link to the one you're on. If lots of sites are linking to your site, and of those sites seem reputable, then that's a good sign.
Hi, at a recent training session several of our master trainers were requesting for help in this regard, how to verify the credibility of a website. Would really appreciate if we can share and explore more ideas. They have already used the checklists available in the Intel Teach course content. thanks