Online College Courses for Credit

2 Tutorials that teach Teaching Students to Evaluate Online Resources
Take your pick:
Teaching Students to Evaluate Online Resources

Teaching Students to Evaluate Online Resources


In this lesson, you will learn how to plan for responsible online use by your students.

See More

Like what you're learning?

Digital Citizenship

Take the whole course from Capella University FOR FREE


Source: Target, Pixabay,; Calendar, Clker,; Nurse, Clker,; Globe, Morguefile,; Paths, Pixabay,; Crossed Fingers, Pixabay,; Globe w/ Mouse, Clker,; Stick Figure, Pixabay,

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Hello and welcome, everyone. Today's lesson will benefit our students as well as ourselves. It's called Teaching Students to Evaluate Online Resources. My name is Gino Sangiuliano and let's get started. Teaching in today's digital world has forced us as teachers to take on some new responsibilities to better prepare students for the future.

For instance, teachers need to model and apply the ISTE standards in their planning, instruction, and assessment. ISTE stands for the International Society for Technology in Education. We also need to teach students how to safely use digital resources and how to wade through less helpful ones and select what's right for their tasks. We also need to help students to understand intellectual property and how to avoid plagiarism.

OK. So we all make mistakes. And this is a pretty embarrassing one. I was working with a first-year teacher who was having her students research explorers. She asked me for some help in finding some grade-level resources. I pointed her in the direction of some books I had used in the past.

In an effort to also give her some online resources, I did a quick Google search. There was one called All About Explorers. It looked pretty good. It was kid friendly, had pictures in the layout, was easy to follow. The problem was I didn't read any of it.

So I gave it to my colleague and she in turn provided it to students. It turns out that the site I gave her was actually developed by a group of teachers specifically designed for students to learn about gathering information from the internet. Had I bothered to actually read any of the explorers' biographies, I would have found out that Christopher Columbus was born in 1951 in Sydney, Australia, and died in 1906, that Vasco da Gama had used high-tech instruments that had been designed by IBM, and that Ferdinand Magellan lost an eye after being shot by an AK-47 during battle. In the end, it was a learning experience for all of us. Although entertaining, and they did have educational value in terms of teaching us the validity of online resources, it was definitely not meant for students to use as a resource for social studies projects they were working on.

If only there was a simple way to remember how to analyze online resources. There is and it's called CRAAP. At any grade level, the mnemonic CRAAP will probably elicit some chuckles and laughter, but it will surely be something that they remember. It stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

We'll begin with Currency, which is the timeliness of the information. You could start by asking yourself questions like, when was the information published or last updated. Are there newer articles on this topic? Are the links or references to other sources up-to-date.

For example, if you were trying to find the most recent winners of the Academy Awards, you might come across an article titled "Last Night's Winners at the Academy Awards." However, the article could have been from two years ago.

Next, we'll move to Relevance, the importance of the information for your needs. Start by asking yourself these questions. Does the information answer your research question? Is the information too technical or too simplified for you to use?

I was working with a small group of students researching the first-ever Super Bowl. Their focus was, how it came to be and its impact on the future of the NFL. I had to redirect them when they started listing statistics from the game such as Bart Starr's quarterback rating-- interesting maybe, but not relevant to their topic.

Next we have Authority, the source of the information. What are the author's credentials? And is the author affiliated with any educational institution or prominent organization? We tend to think that information is associated with someone who claims to be an expert, it must be true. It's a lot like those commercials you see on television with a doctor in a white lab coat telling you what brand of pain reliever will make your headache go away.

The second A stands for Accuracy-- the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content. Now that anyone can create a web page or a blog, this is trickier than ever to decipher. You'll have to ask yourself, are there statements found in the content that you know are false? What citations or references did the author provide to support their claims?

From a student's perspective, the explorer site I mentioned is a perfect example. I also once had a group of fourth graders believing there's such a thing as a tree octopus. Look that one up.

And finally we have P for Purpose, the reason the information exists. Whenever we encounter information from any media source, we should ask ourselves if there is an obvious bias or prejudice, and if there are alternative point of views that are being presented. We encounter this very often in the reporting of the news as well as in advertising. For example, if Toyota says that their cars have the highest resale value but their source of data comes from their own Toyota dealerships, this should raise a red flag.

In conclusion, it's important for teachers to use the strategy for evaluating online resources for their own planning instruction. Now let's go ahead and summarize today's lesson. We started by going over the teaching responsibilities and how they've changed and they're different the 21st century.

We learned the mnemonic CRAAP, which stands for C, Currency, the timeliness of the information; R, Relevance, the importance of the information for your needs; A, Authority, the source of the information; another A for Accuracy, the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content; and finally P for Purpose, the reason the information exists.

Here's today's food for thought. How is evaluating online resources different from evaluating traditional resources? Can the same criteria be used? As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Teaching Students to Evaluate Online Resources"

(00:00-00:12) Introduction

(00:13-00:47) Teacher Responsibilities

(00:48-01:55) Website Story

(01:56-02:31) CRAAP

(02:32-03:02) Currency

(03:03-03:37) Relevance

(03:38-04:02) Authority

(04:03-04:37) Accuracy

(04:38-05:09) Purpose

(05:10-05:55) Summary

(05:56-06:24) Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask 

University of Berkeley Library resource for evaluating online sources. This site walks you through the necessary steps of evaluating an online resource. You can use this site and the steps as you instruct your students to evaluate online resources.

Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test

California State University online resource evaluation tool - This is a one page handout that walks students through the necessary questions to asks when evaluating sources. The acronym CRAAP is easy to remember, and requires students to check for Currency, Relevancy, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

Trash or Treasure: Teaching Students How to Evaluate Internet Resources

Prepared by the Baltimore County Public Schools, this online resource reviews the steps of how and why to evaluate sources. It also provides some sources to use as examples of what to look for when evaluating a resource with activities to support student understanding.