What site should I use? Evaluating websites

The final lessons in the online search skills series of lessons focuses on evaluating websites. There are numerous guides to provide to students, depending on age of the students the selection of evaluation terms is important. I found the 5W’s of Website Evaluation by Kathy Schrock very useful but made slight changes so that it matched the video clip on Evaluating the Web using the 5W’s.

To start the lesson we watched the YouTude clip Evaluate Search Results, this reinforced prior exercises and introduced new skills setting the scene for evaluation. At the end of the clip the class discussed what stood out.

We then watched the second video clip which is fast and exciting and it opened the door to the 5W’s of Website Evaluation exercises.

The guide to the 5W’s of Website Evaluation was shared with the class via the Library homepage.

5W’s website evaluation

The 5W guide questions were posted on Socrative, students visited three different websites that had a common link – octopuses.

The sites reviewed in this order were:

  1. Giant Pacific Octopus from the National Aquarium
  2. Octopus Garden Design
  3. Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

The students took the task seriously, the skills they had learnt over the past weeks were hot topics and students came prepared for more each lesson. As always we could have dug deeper but hopefully the next time the students review sites and are introduced to more advanced evaluation techniques the lessons will have made a difference.

To finalise three questions were posted on Socrative in order to review what they had learnt and what could be extended or introduced.

Final questions asked:

  1. List 3 things you have learnt from the online search lessons
  2. Have you used any of the search skills you have learnt? If yes, which one(s)?
  3. If you were the teacher what other lesson would you include?

The evaluation skills are generic and should be applied across key learning areas. The learning tasks fit into the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities – Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability:

Investigating with ICT – Select and evaluate data and information: assess the suitability of data or information using a range of appropriate given criteria.

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