Friday, February 12, 2010

Cyber Safety

Cyber Safety
I decided to do this week's assignment for Cyber Safety on "Fact or Folly". The reason I chose this was many high school students are given their ISU topics to research in the upcoming weeks. Many students do all their research from google or wikipedia. Unfortunately many also cut and paste from the second site.
To avoid this, teachers are asking students for research from more than one site; however, it is impossible from a teachers perspective to know all the websites for all the chosen topics and warn the students if they are on an incorrect or hoax site.
While reading this document, I became aware that an exercise in validating the authenticity of a website can be time consuming when under strict timelines to conduct research. However; this document prepared by the Media Awareness Network is a teacher ready document. It provides the teacher with all the necessary documents and sources needed to teach this material to their students.
The document is a backgrounder with additional links for more info on the topic for anyone interested in conducting a workshop on website validation. The fact or folly document also comes with a prepared power point presentation for any teacher to use with their students, plus hand outs and on line activities. It is a lot of information to absorb, but it is not difficult.
I really enjoyed the analysis of the website created on the topic of the Holocaust. By analysing it using the steps provided by the Fact or Folly document, it is revealed that the site was created by a holocaust denier.
Many teachers and not just students need to be more vigilant and take the extra time to determine the sources of the websites and their authenticity.
I hope to have time to begin this 45 min introduction workshop with my students before they begin their ISU assignments.
Today during our PD session in the department, we all agreed that in such instances, it is best to spend adequate time in class on website validation and citation for research purposes. We hope to perfect our skills in this area within 2 years and incorporate website citation and validation at the begining of the year. The aim is to begin to read and mark actual academic research papers and enjoy the work our students put together, rathar than spend endless amounts of frustrating time figuring out why everything seems incorrect and plagerised to say the least!
By: Letizia

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