A Place to Start
Imagine yourself on a small island in the vast Pacific Ocean. How would you find the neighboring islands to establish communication? To Internet newcomers, the world wide web often seems as vast and intimidating as the Pacific did to early Micronesian explorers. It is easy to become stranded on an atoll or founder on unexpected shoals.
The Micronesian explorers learned to navigate by establishing reference points for four directions, just as you will begin to map patterns of resources useful to educators by exploring the Online Internet Institute's "four directions".
Establishing patterns of exploration and resource location is the first step in evaluating the riches you encounter on your voyages. Much is new and fascinating, but what is of value and what is simply glitter?
- Articulate an informational need.
- Explore patterns of resources.
- Identify a variety of potential sources of information.
- Create a visual map of several different routes to useful answers.
- Evaluate the quality of information sources critically and competently by determining accuracy, relevance and comprehensiveness, distinguishing among facts, points of view andopinions, and assessing authority and currency.
- Identify publication qualities which enhance educational communication and collaboration.
- Evaluate the quality of the process and products of your own thinking
A Place to Start
Discover the features of Netscape by exploring The Internet Island: a Web tutorial for teachers.
Exploring the World Wide Web summarizes terminology and important stages in the development of the Internet and the world wide web.
Review the points in Esther Grassian's Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources.
Review the points in Jamie McKenzie's Comparing & Evaluating Web Information Resources
Formulate an inquiry ; what would you like to learn on the world wide web?
- Record your search paths so you can find your way back to interesting sites. Use the " back " button in the toolbar or " Go " in the menu bar to retrace your steps. Create a visual map of your explorations.
- Learn to use " Bookmarks " to keep a record of valuable sites. Organize your bookmarks in categories to make them easier to use. Assemble an annotated list of sites by writing comments to accompany your bookmarks.
- Notice the organizational structure of web sites: how many layers deep must you go to find useful information?
- As you begin to explore the world wide web, you will notice that newspaper and magazine articles frequently cite URL 's (Uniform Resource Locators) for web sites. Use the "Open" button on the toolbar or "Open Location" from "File" in the menu bar to enter a URL for a site you want to visit.
- Discover the sites other educators have gathered; Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators is an exceptionally valuable resource.
- Examine the criteria for content evaluation and web site design in CyberGuides.
- Apply the questions listed in Checklist for an Informational Web Page to several of the web sites you discovered while Exploring the World Wide Web by making a chart to determine if it is authoritative, accurate, objective, and current.
- Test Kathy Schrock's Critical Evaluation Surveys with students to see how their evaluations match your own.
- Contribute to the National School Network's reviews of educationally useful web sites by completing an online evaluation of a site you've discovered.
- Study the comments in Web Design: More Than Meets the Eye as well as the design elements of these colorful pages.
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