Credibility of Online Information

Anyone who has access to a computer and the internet can post information online, this leads to the problem of deciphering what information is true and what is not. In school, when given an online research assignment we were given simple guidelines in the hope of avoiding such a problem. We were told not to use Wikipedia under any circumstance and to avoid dot com websites and rely on .org, .edu, and .gov. Often times in post secondary education the information that you can use from the internet is restricted to scholarly articles. However, with the boom of information constantly at our fingertips it is getting harder and harder to be the judge of what is right and what is wrong, and what just simply falls somewhere in between. In the discussions about today’s information overflow we often here the words “information literacy”; but what does that mean exactly?

Wesleyan University (http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/infoforyou/infolitdefined.html) describes it as the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, synthesize, present, and translate information and acquired knowledge. This is a tall order however, especially for high school students and below. Is it possible to become literate enough in the information binge to be able to successfully navigate it at such a young age? Debbie Abilock asserted in her article True or Not? that young people are naturally more critical and skeptical of online information. In fact young adults (18-29) might be more information literate than older adults. Because today’s youth has been raised with internet and technology they may come into the public school system more able to determine if information is false or the truth, than some of their teachers.

Since students come in with at least a basic knowledge of internet use and etiquette, coupled with a healthy dose of skepticism; they are prime candidates to become information literate citizens. These students live and breath technology and the internet so it is easy to believe that they would lap up any information and lessons taught to them about proficient internet use. The youth of the world seem to be the most eager to utilize and learn the skills to improve their use of the internet than any other demographic. This being said, perhaps the young are more better equipped to teach the older generation how to use the most powerful medium.

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One Comment

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  1. I like your general argument and specific connections back to the article. That writing move supports your ideas and provides legitimacy to your viewpoint. In order to make your post even better, I’d recommend linking to additional resources (perhaps from class or additional sites that you’ve come across) in your posting. Ask yourself- how would this posting help you (as a teacher) to provide experiences enabling your future students to become digitally literate? The Wesleyan U link is a good start- where else might you add resources to this post?

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