Friday, November 22, 2013

Get V.A.L.I.D! Teaching Web Literacy Skills

Web literacy has quickly become just as important as any other type of literacy we focus on in education.  It is, simply put, a "must teach" in order to make sure our students are able to accurately sift through and rely on the infinite amount of information available to them.  

Creating our Victorian England museum (more detail on my last post!) offered the perfect opportunity to teach these web literacy skills, especially after seeing several of my students confirming facts they learned from the provided research resources on Wikipedia! 

When thinking about how best to teach these skills, rather than take time away from the museum project, I decided to use the flipped classroom model.  I wanted students to learn the material on their own, and use class time to apply what they learned to what they were working on.  

So, I created a folder on our class web page that looked like this...

I gave them four nights to do this so they could work at their own pace, and ask questions as they went. Thanks to a wonderful colleague, I already had a fancy acronym for helping students remember what to look for when evaluating a website: Get VALID.

Students were asked first to read through this page, and take a brief online quiz on the information, so I could quickly see who understood the information, and who may need some extra support (or, who took the quiz before actually reading!):

Then, students were asked to use Get VALID to determine the reliability of five websites, also included in the folder.  They were asked to download the Get VALID page, and edit it for each of the 5 websites. Then, they were asked to re upload their work to a "homework hand in" in the folder (a simple uploader). 

I was pretty happy with the results.  For those students who didn't do so well with the assignment, I was able to check in with them during their work on their project, and help them through evaluating the sources they were actually using.  I didn't waste any class time trying to figure out who understood the process and who didn't; I knew even before they arrived.  I didn't have to sacrifice my shoulder by dragging home a bag full of 107 Get VALID quizzes and packets. The process was completely paperless. I liked the acronym, because it was easy for them to remember, and helped them analyze a website in a timely manner.  Lastly, the flipped classroom model gave my students the freedom to use their class time to learn collaboratively and creatively, and create some masterpiece-like Victorian England Exhibits...I'm so proud!

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