Why Does it Matter?

Online Information Literacy

Technology and the internet specifically have been developing rapidly throughout the past few years. New websites are made at the drop of a hat for less that $25. Sometimes, the sites are even created for free. Today, so many people have a website whether it be their teaching website, a personal blog, or even an online store. However, how do we know that these billions of sites being created each second are trustworthy and providing correct information?

This is where online information literacy comes into play. It is important for people to know what this literacy does so that they can be good digital citizens. Online information literacy includes the ability to identify, find, evaluate, and use of online information effectively. Adding the word digital to the term literacy encompasses much more than simple literacy in the past. People need to be prepared for all of the different things that could happen in the digital age, and knowing this definition is a great start to gaining a full understanding of online information literacy.

In the past, people were using checklists like the one provided below to check if a site was credible.

Why are checklists like this irrelevant today?

Checklists like the CRAAP test are no longer adequate because people can create websites for little to no money at any time they want as mentioned above. This approach is jaded and does not account for the way the internet has evolved since the early 2000s. Furthermore, it is not realistic for students to go through a checklist when looking at sites. It is time consuming and not efficient. Fact checkers read laterally and scan unfamiliar sites in a strategic way. They cannot take sites at face value. Rather, they look in other places for information about the site. As educators, we can show students how to make the right choices and fact check in the best way possible.

So, why does it matter?

Information literacy is important to because in my professional career I often have to look up worksheets and examples in order to create math dittos and exams. I need to be able to have online information literacy so I can fact check these sites and make sure that the problems are good. Moreover, it comes up in many careers even more so than teaching. You should fact check if you are a:

  • Historian
  • Politician
  • Engineer
  • Computer Scientist
  • Business Owner
  • etc.

This list is really endless because we all need to know where to get credible information in order to be good digital citizens as well as well informed human beings.

One thought on “Why Does it Matter?

  1. Thanks for blogging about this important topic, Emily. It would probably also be a good idea to include some form of citation for a source from one of the folks/groups who have been doing this work that challenges the usefulness of the CRAAP test in the digital realm–like the Stanford History Education Group that did the research study that compared fact checkers to students and History professors at Stanford.

    Also maybe take another look at the article on “Fact Checkers” that you linked to. It may not be the best resource to link to for the argument that you are making. (I think.) That article was posted on the “Heritage Foundation” website, which is a conservative think tank with a very specific political agenda and the article appears to be intended to cast doubt on the work of fact checkers, for politaical purposes, rather than to describe that work objectively.


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