The terms ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ have gone from recently coined to everyday parlance in recent times.
As information proliferates it becomes increasingly important that students who are engaging with inquiry know how to critically evaluate
the information that they find. It is not just information on questionable websites that we need to be concerned about. The ‘crisis of credibility’ even
extends to peer reviewed journals, as Mandy Lupton (2016) points out.
Therefore we need to support students to develop strategies which begin with generic checklists, and then goes deeper, to identify implicit bias and polarising perspectives. We know that students (and many of us also!) need to continually work on developing these skills because there is evidence that their skills are weak:
Herold, Benjamin (2015) US students awful at evaluating reliability of science readings Education Week, July 27
Donald, Brooke (2016) Stanford researchers find students have trouble judging the credibility of information online Stanford Graduate School of Education Blog, November 22
There is some support available in the Australian Curriculum to teach students critical evaluation skills, but it does not go far enough.
Mandy Lupton’s GeSTE Windows model provides insights into the different approaches necessary for true critical evaluation of information.
In Assignment 2 you are encouraged to introduce a range of critical information evaluation strategies and tools to support students.
You will also design curriculum to target the GeSTE windows. You should address the following questions in your design and rationale:
- What are the Generic aspects of the inquiry? What are the common aspects that can be transferred to other inquiries in other subject areas/disciplines?
- What are the Situated aspects of the inquiry? What are the disciplinary approaches evident in the inquiry?
- What are the Transformative aspects of the inquiry? How are students encouraged to challenge the status quo and take action? How are students encouraged to consider voices that are not heard and voices that are privileged?
- What are the Expressive aspects of the inquiry? How are students encouraged to express their voices? How are students encouraged to express their feelings?
You can read about the different approaches to evaluating information below.
Lupton, Mandy (2016) Critical evaluation of information – Generic window
Lupton, Mandy (2016) Critical evaluation of information – Situated window
Lupton, Mandy (2016) Critical evaluation of information – Transformative window
Lupton, Mandy (2016) Critical evaluation of information – Expressive window
Oddone, Kay (2016) Information and critical literacy in the web world
Calling Bullsh!t : suitable for teachers and perhaps senior (Year 11-12) students.
(Please note this is a genuine course developed by staff at the University of Washington -despite the funny name and the tongue in cheek presentation style, it is based on serious stuff, and I encourage you to check it out.)
Fake news and critical literacy resources from the UK National Literacy Trust
Crash Course: Navigating Digital Information: Presented by John Green (popular YA author) this series
of videos addresses a variety of aspects of becoming information literate online.
Factious: An online game testing your ability to detect fact from fiction in news stories.
Checklists and lists of checklists:
for evaluating and verifying the accuracy and quality of information sourced online:
- Kathy Schrock’s critical evaluation of information page
- CARS checklist
- CRAP test
- The history of the CRAAP test
- Checklist for evaluating sources
- SMELL test
Choose one ‘critical evaluation’ survey/rubric from Kathy Schrock’s list, and one other source of your choice from her page, or from the other links I have provided above, or from information evaluation tools that you have found.
Compare and contrast the two rubrics. What is seen as good quality information? What is seen as bad quality information? What are the assumptions behind each evaluation tool/advice?
Evaluate these sources using one of the rubrics:
Janssen, Volker (2012) Indirect tracking of drop bears using GNSS technology. Australian Geographer. 43(2) 445-452
Australian Museum (n.d) Drop bear
Come to the tutorial ready to explain your findings. If you’re not going to be at the tutorial, post your findings on the MeWe Community, using the hashtag #CriticalEvaluation.