What are the best practices in teaching students how to critically explore the web, assessing the credibility of what they find there? That was the topic of one of the most popular sessions at ISTE that I didn’t go to — Critical Thinking While Exploring the Web (Howard Rheingold), at least according to the Twitter feed. (Anyone who has not had the joy of following Twitter on a conference you’re attending, you should really try it — you get a much better sense of the conference as a whole, though it does have the negative side effects of fragmented attention, and a constant sense of regret at all the great things that seem to be happening in rooms that you’re not in).
Howard Rheingold is apparently quite the guru in critical thinking, media literacy, and all things social media. He sounds like a cool guy. Here’s his website. Apparently, at this session he discussed “crap detection” and internet literacy, which are all rather hot topics (especially among school librarians, who are charged with teaching all this stuff). There are some good links on the conference session website, such as his article on Crap Detection. Since people are finding more and more information on the internet, we need to learn to be savvy consumers. What looks real, might not be. It’s important to see who is behind a particular website. Are they credible? What sources do they cite? Here is a very nice blog post by Nate Kogan summarizing the session and his essential messages. These are important questions as we ask students to collaborate online, as many of the resources that they will be pulling from are internet resources.
I got a good sense of the session by looking at some of the Twitter comments and quotes:
monk51295: the ability to learn without a teacher has been magnified – and facilitating that is now key -rheingold
Here is a bliptv post with Howard talking about determining information credibility (25 minutes):
There is an open discussion group for considering questions about critical thinking and credibility assessment around web exploration created from the talk.
Here is a blog post from Angela Maiers about a separate edchat with Howard Rheingold, and another from SocialMediaBiz on essential media literacies (with a Vimeo from Howard Rheingold). Apparently this guy is an amazing and funny speaker, so if this is of interest to you, I bet it’s worth your while.