Readings 3 – Web Literac(y)(ies)

The following organizations are generally regarded as reputable fact-checking organizations focused on U.S. national news:

Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. I took this definition from an article called What Is Digital Literacy? on Education Week.

Web literacy is the ability to read, write, and participate on the web.

These two seem very similar but from these definitions digital literacy is the ability to use the information on the web and web literacy is the ability to find the information on the web. Both skills need to be learned and understood in the classroom in order for students to be able to use the web appropriately and both are part of digital citizenship. I don’t feel like I have high skills in either of these areas. I thought that I had a good understanding and used the web adequately, but now that I am taking this course I have learned that there is so much more that I can learn and understand when it comes to web and digital literacy. I also have a better understanding of tools and the benefits the web has to offer in a classroom and look forward to learning more.

One of my biggest concerns about the internet has always been if articles and posts are legitimate. I really enjoyed learning about Caulfield’s techniques on how to determine if a site is reliable. I will definitely be using these in the future. Before now I was always under the impression that you could not believe anything you read on Wikipedia. Maybe it is because when the web and Wikipedia were new we were told in school to NEVER use it. Now it is used by Caulfield to investigate sources. This is an easy and simple way to figure out if an agency where you are pulling information from is valid, and quick and easy way to teach students how to check validity of their sources.

Caulfield also talks about making sure that you are at the source of the site. This means the original reporting source. This reminds me of the telephone game we played as kids. The concept is simple yet such a reality in life and on the web. Stories change as they get posted over and over again and as a reader the only way to know you are getting the true story is to get it from the source. Another way you can be sure to be reading reliable news stories is to rely on traditional news reporting. Caulfield suggests building a list of reliable sources and I think this is a great idea for teachers and students.

A few other things that I found interesting is Caulfield’s method is tracking the source of a viral photo and verifying a twitter account. I honestly don’t think I would ever care about finding the original source of a viral photo and the process seemed a bit long. It was interesting and maybe something I might need to teach my students but not something I will be doing on a regular basis. Twitter is also very new to me and a reason I have never been on twitter, before 5 weeks ago, was because I didn’t want to spend my time sorting through tweets that I didn’t know were legit. I have now learned that twitter can be very useful in a classroom setting and a good tool, so learning how to verify a twitter account might come in handy.

DigiPo is still a bit unclear to me about the process and usefulness, but from what I can tell it is a platform for teachers to have their students collaborate and make a page about a certain question similar to Wikipedia. This gives students the ability to fact check, annotate, and provide context to the different news stories that show up in our Twitter and Facebook feeds.

All of these topics relate very closely to digital citizenship. If we want to be active participants on the web and teach our students to as well, we need to understand the basics of web and digital literacy. There is so much information on the web, some real and some fake, and we need to be able to distinguish between them. We also need to teach students how to navigate the web and understand it so that they are learning information correctly in their daily lives as well as how to use it in their research.

Earlier in my post I posted a definition of Digital Literacy. I made a video of using Caulfield’s technique to determine if the organization Education Week is valid and if the definition I used in my post is correct. I wanted to add audio but couldn’t figure that step out. Hopefully next time.

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