They Can't Believe All They Read!

In this age of what Ian Jukes terms "InfoWhelm" we are inundated with information. It's estimated that the amount of information available on the Internet could create 13 stacks of books that would reach Pluto!

With all that information, its imperative that we teach our students Information Literacy - the ability to ask good questions, to access the most appropriate material, and to analyze the raw material they come across. Too many of our students believe everything they read on the Internet - after all, someone posted it, right?

Teach your students and your children to look at who wrote the material, what credentials they bring to the table, and what other sources cite their website. I am a total proponent of using the web to gather information, but only if we teach the skills to go along with it. Growing up, we had librarians to weed out the bad material. Now, we have to rely on our own common sense.

If you want to show your students two fairly harmless sites that look extremely legitimate, but are totally bogus, take them to http://www.dhmo.org/ and to http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/. The first website warns visitors of the damaging effects of Dihydrogen Monoxide and how it contributes to flooding, rust, acid rain, and other catstrophes. If you haven't figured it out, Dihydrogen Monoxide is more commonly known as water!

The second site implores people to save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus! See how long it takes the students to realize there's no such animal! Have fun and happy Internet hunting!

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