Traditionallyy, students would research a topic and organize the information into a report of some sort. Various sources may be used: non-fiction books, encyclopedias, magazines, and the Internet. More and more often, research is done through the Internet and fewer printed materials are used. I have no problem with this personally but there must also be a way for students – of any age – to access the legitimacy of their online sources. Years ago, while I was a district level technology coordinator, I taught Information Literacy.
The United States National Forum on Information Literacy defines information literacy as “… the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand.” Other definitions incorporate aspects of “skepticism, judgement, free thinking, questioning, and understanding… (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_literacy)
It is vitally important to understand the Internet has a wealth of information and yet not all of the information may be accurate. How do you know what is and what is not accurate? How do you know is a site is biased? Many people don’t even think to question something they’ve read on the web.
It is important to analyze the information as well as the source. Who wrote this and why? Are they biased? Am I biased? Why are these two articles so different from each other? How can both of these statements be true? Are there still other viewpoints I haven’t discovered yet? How do I know which is correct? Is there even a correct viewpoint?