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Teaching Children Information Literacy

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“Information (Critical) literacy: the ability to evaluate documents and artefacts by asking critical questions, assessing credibility, comparing sources, and tracking the origins of information.” DIGITAL LITERACIES 2012 by Gavin Dudeney, Nicky Hockly & Mark Pegrum

As pupils grow up using the web to access almost all of the information needed in their daily lives and their education, they need to be taught how to check that the data they are finding is accurate and not merely take it for granted that as it is written on a web page that it is okay to accept it as a fact, or set of facts.

One of the fun ways to do this is to use spoof websites and there are quite a range of really good fun sites to choose from. The way I have done this in the past is to give groups of pupils a spoof site each and ask them to make a presentation on their topic to the rest of the class. One would hope that they would soon find out that the website is a spoof, but this does not always happen. Sometimes it is necessary to ask the whole class to find out more about the topic to see if that sparks the idea that the information being shared is all false.

Spoof sites that I have found to be suitable for primary schools are:

Dog Island Free Forever is great, one of the easier ones to see through so may be better for slightly younger pupils.

The Fisher Price Aeroplane – “the backbone of major US Airlines…”

The Burmese Mountain Dog – “often mistaken by tourists as a German Shepherd.”

Save the Guinea Worm – “As you read this, a cartel of powerful organizations is conspiring to exterminate a living endangered species from the planet.”

Boilerplate  – “a mechanical man developed by Professor Archibald Campion during the 1880s…”

Save The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus – this one is very well known so it may be best to ask pupils whether they have heard of it before using it.

 Cybertan – when looking at the Sun safely, during the summer, this one may also stimulate useful discussion.

You can also find a complete Information Literacy lesson ( which may be really useful as an introduction or follow-up activity) at:  https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/identifying-high-quality-sites-6-8,

Finally, to assist in checking the quality of information found on-line, I have reproduced a useful aid to checking the information found on a website below:

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