- Evaluate the credibility and reliability of websites.
- Rate sites by applying the criteria.
- Evaluate sources, including social media.
- Develop students' media literacy skills.
1. Ask students what sites they usually visit and why. Ask them if they know whether the sites are reliable or not and what criteria they use if any.
2. Set students in groups and ask them to negotiate and write down their group criteria in selecting sites (when they have to do research for a school project); after that give them the following questions to consider whenever they use a site and tell them to think twice if their answer is no.
- Who created the site?
- Do they have expertise?
- Do you find any information about them on the internet?
- Do they give any information details about their institution or organisation?
- Is there a link back to the institutional or organizational home page?
- Go to the ‘about’ section, how do they describe themselves?
- Is the site stable, well-designed, well-written and grammatically correct?
- Do they provide a bibliography with any sources cited and if they do are the sources reliable and can they be identified elsewhere?
- Is the information given accurate, documented or well-researched?
- Is the information hyperlinked to other quality sources?
- Is the information current?
- Can you verify when it was published?
- Do they have a contact section whose email address matches the domain?
3. Ask them to compare their group criteria with these and then complete their own list of criteria. Discuss each list with the class. Insist on arguments and justification for each choice.
4. Brainstorm students about topics of interest and negotiate on one. Then set a group task: students (groups of four) are asked to do research on the chosen topic on the internet; find four sites related to the topic and decide whether they are reliable or fake according to the criteria agreed upon. Students present their findings (supported by arguments) to the class. Discuss how they did the task (search for sites, analysis of the sites,use of criteria, etc).
After students have identified the most important aspects they have to consider when assessing the credibility of a site (the author’s name, contact, qualifications or credentials, useful information, if it is up to date, suitable for their age), discuss how and where they can find this information about the site. Discuss the necessity and the role of the criteria; benefits in using them and the dangers in not relying on them.
5. Information may be fact or opinion. Ask students how they discern factual information from opinion or fiction. How do they distinguish between facts and opinions? Why is this important? What is fact? What is opinion? Give students examples of facts and opinions (Handout Activity 1). This will enable them to detect opinion from facts. It is also important to help learners to make the difference between opinions that are constructive and opinions that aims at manipulating the information. Ask them in groups to examine the sentences given and focus on the characteristics of the language used in factual and opinion news.(Suggestions: I think, I believe, It seems, It appears; modals: should, may etc; Opinion adjectives; Opinion, view point or commenting adverbs; Selecting or highlighting)
6. Auction game
Engage students in the game by talking about auctions: Do you know what they are? Can you describe an auction? Have you ever been to an auction? Set students into pairs or small groups and display 12 statements with factual and opinion information on the screen (see Handout Auction). Each pair or group is given some 'money' with which to bid on the statements displayed.
Explain the rules of the auction game. The aim of the game is to buy as many sentences with factual information as possible. Each group will have 100 euros to spend. The sentence will be sold to the highest bidder (Use the structures: "10 euros going once, 10 euros going twice, 10 euros sold to group X!"). The winner of the game is the group which has bought the most factual sentences. Ask the students to plan which sentences they are going to bid for. Conduct the auction in a fun way. After all the sentences are sold, run through them again and get a class vote on which sentences are facts. Confirm the answers. Ask them to add up their money. Who has lost money on opinion sentences?
- Set discussion rules with students.
- Make sure everybody is given an opportunity to speak.
- Be a facilitator of the discussion and focus on its topic and objectives.
- Encourage and positively reinforce constructive engagement in the discussion.
Set students in several groups with different tasks:
- Make a poster illustrating the criteria used in assessing websites.
- Make a poster highlighting indicators of manipulative strategies used to influence opinions.
- Do further research on manipulative strategies used to influence opinions (by examining news articles).
Handout: Fake News
Feedback questionnaires, quizzes.
Review what was understood and learned. What did you learn? What do you still have questions about? What was the most interesting thing you learnt from this activity?
Talk about benefits and risks of the internet.