Into the Curriculum
School Library Monthly/Volume XXVIII, Number 3/December 2011
DUPED? Website Evaluation
by Tina S. Laramie
Tina S. Laramie is a high school librarian at Vernon Verona Sherrill Central School, Verona, NY. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This website evaluation lesson allows students the chance to evaluate websites and come to a conclusion based on their own sleuthing skills. While completing coursework at Syracuse University, I created the following website evaluation lesson with a colleague, Cheryl Lederle-Ensign. Together we collaborated on a great lesson for evaluating the Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) website (http://www.dhmo.org/).
Information Literacy/Inquiry Objectives:
AASL's Standards for the 21st-Century Learner:
- Use valid information and reasoned conclusions to make ethical decisions (2.3.3).
- Determine how to act on information (2.4.1).
- Conclude an inquiry-based research process by sharing new understandings and reflecting on the learning (3.1.1).
This lesson lends itself to any course where integration of website evaluation is needed, including English Language Arts, Social Studies, Foreign Language, or Business.
Grade Levels: 7-8 or 9-12
buILder "How dangerous is DHMO?" http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/view/2469
A buILder is a tool (similar to a webquest) and is housed at S.O.S. for Information Literacy (http://www.informationliteracy.org/). The original lesson is also online (http://www.informationliteracy.org/plans/view/489/back/0). Marilyn Arnone and Ruth Small, professors at Syracuse University, created this repository for lessons with or without buILders and it is free to use.
The school librarian and teacher co-teach lesson. The school librarian introduces the lesson and then, along with the teacher, answers any questions students may have throughout their learning experience.
Procedures for Completion:
The builder "How dangerous is DHMO?" (http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/view/2469) was used for this lesson (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. builder: How dangerous is DHMO?
To provide a quick way for the students to remember how to evaluate a website, the school librarian created the acronym DUPED:
D—Date published or last updated
U—URL of website
P—Pop-up ads on the webpage
E—Email address to contact someone
D—Designer or publisher of website
These five clues can help students decipher information and decide if the website is reliable. This acronym gives them a quick reference for evaluation and a new vocabulary word.
The DHMO site (http://www.dhmo.org/) was paired with DUPED to create an engaging, hopefully memorable, website evaluation lesson. Basically, the students must decide if DHMO should be banned in the city of Aliso Viejo. (The lesson was created for high school students, but can easily be adapted for middle school students.) The time can also be altered. The lesson has been taught in 40 minutes or in three 40-minute sessions.
Hand out a photocopy of the DUPED worksheet (available for download at: http://vvsresearchsite.pbworks.com/w/file/35289600/DHMOevalsheeta.doc) or put questions on board/overhead for students to answer on their own paper. Students work in groups of two. They must prove their sources are reliable.
Ask the students to decide if they want to ban DHMO using DUPED. Also explain that not all items may be found on each page. They should do their best.
Students proceed to a buILder, similar to a webquest (http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/view/2469). They proceed through the builder trying to decide if they would ban DHMO, completing the worksheet as they progress. Reiterate the importance of reading the text on the websites. Time will vary depending on length of lesson.
After students complete the worksheet ask for a show of hands on their positions on whether or not to ban DHMO.
Discuss their reactions to Dihydrogen monoxide. Use the PowerPoint (http://infolit.wikispaces.com/space/showimage/DHMOwebsitethoughtsrevised.ppt) to highlight sections of the websites that indicate it is unreliable.
For a simpler conclusion, search Google for DHMO and show the students three hits for them to evaluate.
Students will hand in their completed worksheets to be used for assessment. If you used the lesson as a longer unit, you could have the students create vokis (http://www.voki.com/) that describe three things they learned in this lesson. Then embed the vokis on a wiki page so the students can show the voki to the rest of the class. This also provides a permanent record of the assessment. See sample vokis (scroll down to bottom of page for examples) at: http://vvsresearchsite.pbworks.com/w/page/27438951/Website-Evaluation.
The students are surprised when they learn the common name for DHMO. It shows them that not all websites are credible and they must be discerners of information because they don’t want to be DUPED again!