Biased articles and false data have been around forever. However, the 2016 and 2020 elections and COVID-19 news coverage increased awareness of false information and conspiracy theories proliferating the internet. The need for internet literacy is crucial. Evaluating websites is a critical skill under the umbrella of information literacy.
I’ve been creating instructional content on internet literacy for over 10 years now, and I continue to be alarmed at the dangerously false articles constantly shared and circulated on Facebook and Twitter without any sort of fact verification. This highlights the need for internet literacy to be taught to users of all ages as a basic life skill.
Below is a sample of a tutorial on website evaluation.
Purpose of Instruction: Because users are bombarded by constant information overload from ads, videos, news feeds, and social media posts, the ability to distinguish relevant, verifiable information from biased and inaccurate memes, comments, and unresearched articles is one of the most important school and workplace skills today. Given certain criteria, adults can evaluate websites to find ones that will be useful for their purposes. Along with lessons and self-checks, I created a checklist of criteria for evaluating website content.