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Evaluating online information

Problem-centred tasks

Engaging students in critical evaluation of online information in terms of accuracy, bias and reliability

  • Choosing the most reliable/ accurate / objective social media post

  • Finding bias / factual mistakes in a blog/vlog/article

  • Ranking the websites on a chosen topic according to their accuracy/reliability

  • Finding the least reliable photo/video evidence


Scaffolding activities

#1 Different dimensions

Students learn about different dimensions of critical evaluation - (1) accuracy,  (2) bias and (3) reliability. They explore the meaning of these terms.

#2 Questions

Students generate/ explore / categorise questions which can be used to evaluate each dimension of information.

#3 Evaluation rubrics

Using the guiding questions within three dimensions, students generate an evaluation  checklist for their own use in the activity. Checklists can also include prompts  about what to do to evaluate the dimensions.

#4 Modelling

Using the checklist and a relevant example, a teacher models how it can be used for critical evaluation of information.

#5 Checking accuracy

Students use other websites to verify factual information.  

#6 Checking reliability

Students analyse the website providing information. They consider the address (domain name), site authority and contact information; explore the home page.

#7 Identifying bias

Students analyse if a text provides one or multiple perspectives on the issue. The explore other possible stances on the topic.

#8 Decision making

Using their responses in the rubric, students report their findings and decide whether the information they evaluated is accurate, reliable and unbiased.  

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