ETL501- Topic 3: Website Evaluation

Standard

Educational Criteria

Evaluate Cyberguide ratings – as tool / guide to assessing educational value of a site:

  • I like that it asks you to state the purpose for looking at a site: this provides a focus for a teacher or TL to clearly define the purpose that the site is required for and focuses on the suitability of the site
  • Noting possible uses for a site also focuses on the suitability for your purpose
  • Overall a useful & thorough tool for assessing the educational value of a site

Criteria that I might add:

  1. Does the site support “relevance  to the current or future curriculum”? How does it connect to the curriculum?
  2. Do materials overlap? Does the site provide a better/different perspective than resources already available in the library (Lamb & Johnson, 2010, Needs Connection section)
  3. Readability is very important to consider and the age appropriateness of the site (accommodating different reading levels)

Websites – reliability criteria
List of questions that TLs might consider in relation to reliability criteria

  • Is the author clearly identified?
  • Can you find out more about their credentials?
  • Do they have any authority on the topic?
  • Is bias clearly identifiable?
  • Is the site trying to sell you something?
  • Do you need to register to use site? Is the site collecting information about the users?
  • Is it sponsored by some type of organisation?
  • Is the purpose of the site clear?
  • Is the date it was created clearly identified?
  • Is the date last updated included?
  • Are any links provided appropriate for age of students?
  • Is it easy to get back to original page?
  • Does the site have acceptable readability?
  • Is this site stable? Will it be there when you go back to use?

Websites – technical criteria

  • Need to consider if the bandwidth is capable of supporting site?
  • Do all images / graphics load when you open site?
  • Does it work properly with your internet browser?

Other Commentary on the readings in Topic 3

  • Johnson and Lamb (2007) provide a great example of a simple and effective web evaluation tool for primary school aged children (Web Evaluation Tools section).
  • Barcalow’s (2003) CARS checklist provides a clear and effective evaluation criteria to use with students of all ages. I think it would be particularly appropriate for young children. I would adapt and use this.
  • In the article by Harris (2010) he discusses how a site may show unfairness or bias by the language and tone that is used. The tone may be highly emotional. Harris states that “angry, hateful, critical, spiteful tones often betray an irrational and unfair attack underway rather than a reasoned argument.” (2010, Fairness section). This made me think that maybe this could be a good place to start teaching younger children about bias, as they may be able to understand and identify some of these emotions / tones in the writing.

References

Barcalow, T. (2003). CARS: Evaluating websites.Retrieved from http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/tbarcalow/490NET/Evaluation.htm

Harris, R. (2010). Evaluating Internet research resources. Retrieved from http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm

Johnson, L. & Lamb, A. (2007). Evaluating internet resources. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic32.htm

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2010). Information access and delivery: Materials review and selection. In The school library media specialist. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/sms/access/selection.html

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