The Internet is a powerful tool that puts information at our fingertips. Unfortunately, many sites are ambiguous and unpredictable, and lack structure, quality, and accuracy. How do you find quality sites? Critically screen websites by using the following guidelines:
- Check the date the site was created and revised.
- Check the source.
- Check the author or organization.
- Check the links.
- Are other points of view offered?
- Are there other sites with similar information?
- Look for a contact address.
- Verify the information by e-mailing the author, organization, or web master.
You can also verify the integrity of a site by using your common sense. If a site sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The more you work with the Internet, the more quickly you can identify the websites that best meet you needs. Here are some websites to get you started.
1) Search Engines: These programs allow web users to find key information from a database or mass of data. A search engine sifts through millions of documents in seconds, based on the key words you provide. These are some of the more popular search engines:
- Ask Jeeves<www.aj.com>: it is easy to use and provides you with basic information. You make your inquiry in the form of a questions. There is also a version just for students<www.ajkids.com>.
- AltaVista<www.altavista.com>: This is a popular choice because it is fast and comprehensive.
- Yahoo<www.yahoo.com>: A comprehensive search engine with a vast amount of information. For the children’s version visit Yahooligans<www.yahooligans.com>.
- Google<www.google.com>: It is very fast, simple to use, and extensive.
2) Government agencies, universities, institutes, and museums will ensure good-quality websites. These are good starting points.
3) Access the following educational websites for the latest research, articles to add to your professional reading file, and ideas. Be sure to bookmark these website addresses.
- AskERIC<https://ericir.syr.edu>: ERIC is the Educational Resources information Center. It gives lesson plans, databases, articles, abstracts, and research papers for the educator.
- ASCD<www.ascd.org>: ASCD is the Association for Supervising and Curriculum Developments. This professional development association addresses current educational topics and theories about learning. Access their website for a variety of resources including; articles on a range of current educational topics from top educational researchers, a free e-newsletter on educational related topics, downloadable e-publication, and much more!
Please note that the above information is taken from the P&M Press publication 101 Time Smart Solutions for Teachers by Thea Morris. For more information or to order this title visit www.pandmpress.com.