I have “done the drill” re: critically evaluating websites for years now with my preservice teachers. Along with my own work, I have looked to countless online guides describing methods as to how you actually evaluation online content. However, at some point (likely coordinated with my own writing and reading of blogs & wikis) I stopped believing in the processes and principles which were widespread regarding the evaluation of websites.
For instance, here’s a document that represents a fairly standard approach in the field. Note the very first category, authorship, and the questions it asks. (e.g., who is the author?, what are the author’s credentials?, etc.)
I remember looking through this document a year or two ago, and feeling like something had changed. I went to the office of a colleague and asked her … “how do I deal with this”? “I don’t believe these criteria anymore”. So, I’ve pondered this since, but it’s been one of those tasks that has been put to the backburner.
Thanks so much to Steven Downes for reminding me of how important this is, and what principles of website evaluation should look like.
If you haven’t seen this already, check out Stephen’s “Principles for Evaluation Websites“. There are important ideological changes here as opposed to the first document I mentioned. For those of you who are my former students (and likely teaching in the Fall), take a few minutes to think about this. These are ideas which are important to the pedagogy of information literacy.