Week Four: Information Literacy and Creativity

September 22, 2013

This week in class we started to look at the construction of our personal learning network and we looked into finding and evaluating information that can be found on the Internet. I found our work with social media to be a bit overwhelming because it is easy to spend a great deal of time constructing your social media profile and investigating each social media outlet. One can spend hours delving into the depths of a particular social media website to find information. Finding and evaluating information can be a difficult process especially with the many different forms of documents, media, and resources.

Creating a personal learning network is such a broad idea. It could really be as in-depth or as low key as the particular person wanted to go. There is so much to find on social media it can be overwhelming. This week we started working with Google+, LinkedIn, and the Personal Learning Network of our choice. Although I had used Google+ and LinkedIn before I still had to reacquaint myself with them. I don’t normally use these websites. It’s difficult for me to keep up with so many different social media sites I typically only use Facebook.  I believe this semester will be a good way to get me into using more of these sites for professional usage.

One reading that I found to be interesting this week was the chapter we read about WebQuests (Coffman, 2013). Prior to this class, I had never heard of a WebQuest. Wow, what an interesting concept! I really hadn’t considered how to construct a lesson using the Internet. I had assumed that I would just have my students browse one particular website for information. However, that doesn’t seem very realistic when you think about it. Students will be tasked with finding information online for the rest of their lives and they’re not always going to have me there to tell them whether or not the site is a good resource to use. So I should be teaching students what good and bad websites look like. Plus, students must use many different websites to find information about a particular topic, there’s not going to be one website that is a one-size-fits-all. It’s actually interesting that we covered the topic of WebQuests this week because it was my first experience with them in the classroom as well. My 8th grade science classes were doing a WebQuest this week where they were given a worksheet about matter to fill out using 10 or so different websites.

A resource from this week that I found useful was Kathy Schrock’s (2013) Critical Evaluation of Information. I know how I evaluate websites but trying to communicate that knowledge that I’ve acquired after years of searching for information can be difficult. Kathy Schrock’s questions helped me to learn what questions I should be asking my students to help them evaluate their sources. Questions like, “Is the purpose of the page indicated on the home page?” help the user to look for information within a website that will help them determine a trustworthy site in the future (Schrock, 2013). This site also helped me in creating my website evaluation mind map and creating the mind map allowed me to write down the criteria that I look for in a website. This was helpful because sometimes I evaluate a website without really thinking about the criteria. I already know to look for dates, information about the author, biased information, and so on.



Coffman, T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Schrock, K. (2013). Critical evaluation of information. Retrieved from http://www.schrockguide.net/critical-evaluation.html

Solomon, G & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0: How-to for educators. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Categories: INDT 501, Uncategorized.

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2 Responses

  1. Alisha,
    I liked your post… But I really empathized with your observation this is “a bit overwhelming because it is easy to spend a great deal of time constructing your social media profile and investigating each social media outlet. One can spend hours delving into the depths of a particular social media website to find information.”
    If not overwhelming it is certainly too much to do in the allotted time. I understand the need to be exposed to tools we can use in the classroom but these lessons take too long, we are required to join too many social media sites, and when we do, it takes a lot of time to figure out what they are all about and why it is important to education, if it is at all. I took over an hour just to apply for the Twitter account then figure out if it is important to me as a teacher. Let’s see, we are supposed to join Feedly, Twitter, Delicious or Diigo, Community of Practice, Linkedin, Google+ and Evernote. At 20 minutes each that is 2 hours and twenty minutes for that portion of the week four class assignment alone. As for Twitter’s utility, the jury is out though it did help me find some science articles on line. What can one really say of import in 140 characters…
    Bottom Line: Timewise I am spending more time on this class than I am on my other two classes COMBINED. Hang in there, I feel your pain and share your concern. Good post.
    Phil Lanman

  2. gdelariveraSeptember 22, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

    Hi Alisha,

    I agree with your comments about WebQuests. It is really interesting and I am very excited about creating one this semester. I haven’t used LinkedIn or Google+ before. As you say, I believe that during this semester we will have a lot of opportunities to use these sites as well as personal learning networks (PLN).

    I really like the idea of having a personal learning network. In this type of community web, we can learn and share information, ideas, methods, strategies, and experiences with teachers from all over the world in a safe learning environment. Also, our students can get benefits from creating their own PLN. In order to do so, as mentioned in the video, we teachers first have to create our own PLNs. There is no doubt about the benefits and potential that a PLN can bring to our lives. However, when I think about all these ideas about online networks, I can’t help but think about our real life in schools. There is so much potential that is being wasted every day. All of us agree on the importance of collaborative work. But most of the schools do not provide quality time for collaboration or for building a real networking environment where teachers can share, create, collaborate and learn from each other. I think that before creating online PLNs we should remember to build personal networks in our local schools and districts.

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