I chose to use adults for this inquiry because I do not currently have a classroom. Knowing what I know about education (5 years experience) I thought it would be interesting to see how adults would handle an Internet inquiry, but I used a kid friendly topic that I could use later in classroom.
While watching the three participants doing the survey I noticed:
They did the survey very quickly and really wanted to get it done as fast as possible
One of the three participants became frustrated after about five minutes of searching because of the vast amount of unusable websites that came up. This is something that Bruce addressed in his article “Credibility of the Web: Why we need Dialectical Reading,” he mentioned that it is important to weed out the vast amount of unimportant information and how difficult it can be for an Internet user.
All appeared very knowledgeable about Internet searching.
The final question that was asked on the survey involved looking at two different websites and deciding which one was more credible.
The first site http://hsv.com/scitech/earthsci/quake.htm , was a site that was “designed by Larry.” There were no credentials or sources found on this site. I know that several of his visual aids were taken off of the United States Geological Website, but he did not site his sources.
- Four of the seven people I surveyed choose this site over the other. Some comments that they said were:
http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Glossary/PlateTectonics/Maps/map_plate_tectonics_world.html , was a more credible website. This site is hosted by the United States Geological Society making it a very credible site. It also has a contact address if the user has any questions. It did, however, only have one map where the other site had several.
Two of the seven users chose this site. They were quoted by saying:
“ Very credible site because it is connected to the government”
“ Easier to understand”
Note: I found these results rather interesting. I really thought that adults would choose the second website because it is a government issued site. Looking at the reasons that were given, those would also be the reason a student would pick that website as well. People tend to choose websites that are full of pictures and animations instead of those which have more information than visual aids.
Adults have become pretty self-sufficient on completing Internet searches. Due to some of the following factors:
With the help of other adults, their kids, or other friends they can often get the information that they need (Check out these stories of students teaching their parents how to use the computer)
“ How To” websites/books ( Microsoft has a pretty good site) have helped adults become very proficient at the Internet. Learn the Net is an example of an Internet manual available to users to help understand the Internet.
If I was to do this inquiry in a classroom I would simplify the search to- “The Most Active Volcano in the United States.” There really wasn’t a completely clear answer to the ten most active volcanoes because it is continually changing. There is a clear answer to the most active volcano in the United States. This would help limit the search and make it easier for my students to find the answer.
It would be very interesting to see how students would do in this search. I would definitely have to do quite a few lessons on how to search the web with third grade students. I also think it would be easier to use students because they need to do the project to help them learn this concept. Where my adult volunteers just did the project out of the kindness of their hearts (Unfortunately I wish I had more).
Also I would make sure to address the idea of plagiarism with my students as brought forth in both the Michael Bugeja and Michael Freedman article. It is definitely important to start this early in a students educational career.