Reading the Web
Principles used to teach stage 3 students when they are reading online to determine if a website is reliable:
- If the domain in the URL link is one of the following: .gov, .org
- If there is a section ‘about’ the author or the group that has developed the site or information displayed
- If the information on the site is sourced and referenced to support the information being presented to the viewer.
- If there is a published/updated date on the site (e.g. if the date of the article was published in 1920s then the information provided may be outdated).
- If the websites main purpose is not to sell products to the viewer.
- The information is written well.
I would advise students to follow these principles when reading and researching information online. They will need to ensure that the sites they are referencing are credible as it is important to understand that anyone can upload articles and information to the internet, therefore making some information they read false and sometimes biased. As a teacher I would ensure students cross check the factual information they attain to make sure that it is reliable. Students need to learn how to skim read articles to check for reliability and also if the website contains the information they require. A means of doing this is by checking the subtitles first (table of contents) and also reading information on the author to check for credibility.(1) A website that has information about Australia that is clear, age appropriate (stage 3) and a good model for a lesson about note taking and reading online:
About Australia : I believe this website will benefit students research on Australia in multiple subject areas, such as, History, Geography, and Economics. The website is clearly set up with tabs indicating various features of Australia that the student may wish to study more intently, for example, weather, travel, and statistics. Depending on the project area students can use this website as a source of online reading and note taking. The website has is a contact section and is well written with no advertisement pop ups. The last time the website was updated was in July 12th 2016 which is relitively recent.
(2) See below a short video about Australia that is age appropriate (stage 3), which could be used to model note taking using the visual aspect as well as spark creative discussion:
This video link displays factual information about Australia. Students can visualise the information. I would possibly use this video as an example for students to see how the information they have found on Australia can be compiled and displayed in a video form.
(3) See below a website about Australia to use as a contrast to the other sites in order to develop student’s analytical and critical skills:
Australian Facts : This website lists 40 facts about Australia. The facts listed are not sourced and therefore the information may not be reliable to the viewer. The information was published in 2012 (5 years previously) and when going to the author section the link goes to other posts by Lionel but does not state any information about his background. There is also a tab on this site ‘Write for WN’ whereby any amateur can write a blog, this makes the information Lionel writes about unreliable as it is not referenced and can be biased with judgement and persuasive writing styles of the author.
Developing your photography skills
Photography plays such a large role in communication today as it attempts to strengthen the impact of the words written in relation to the photograph. Imagery is an engaging topic to discuss with students as it is relevant to what is exposed to them on a daily basis, with websites, television and news articles. Teaching students the skills they need to develop when they are taking their own photographs will broaden their understanding of visual representations and meaning through composition.
The rule of thirds: Pakarklis (2013) outlines the rule of thirds as a method to enhance the composition of a photograph. Using the gridlines on the camera place the main feature of the image at one of the four intersection points as these are the most powerful areas of the image and our eyes are initially drawn to them. Using a partner I attempted to use the rule of thirds, and below is my favourite image of my attempt at this:
Make use of leading lines: The purpose of leading lines is to direct the viewers’ eyes in a particular direction towards the main subject (Pakarklis, 2013). The leading lines do not necessarily need to be horizontal or vertical. The image below shows a walkway on the University of Sydney campus where the viewer gaze is drawn in the direction of the road as that where the walkway leads.
The compositions skill used in this image is to follow the direction of movement: In the photograph the person in the picture is running along the path of the water on the sand. As the viewer we automatically follow the path where the runner is going and so the photographer needs to allow for enough space on the left side of the photograph to enable viewers gaze to wonder in that direction:
Social Media, News and critical literacy
When viewing a website ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it a reliable source of news or information? (use the above principle guidelines to answer this question).
- What is the purpose of the source?
- satire, or
- fake news masquerading as actual news
Using these prompts I will analyse the following websites:
(1) Animal Conservation : This website is used to trick readers into investing in the conservation and protection of a fake invented “tree octopus”. The Author section proves this as the information on Lyle Zapato is misleading when you follow the link of his name as it provides to background information. If you read the comments of readers it can be proved that this website is a prank.
(2) News : This is a comical news website that uses sarcastic jokes and satire to humor its viewers.
(3) Nature and science news : This news site focuses on advertising medical products of dietary supplements. I can assume that this it to target viewers as a trick to purchase products through scientific facts that are not deemed accurate as they are not references or supported with accredited scientist information/personnel.
Reflection on National Public Radio (like the ABC but publicly funded in the US) – A section from their education work Fake News
I found it interesting that the the teacher Flory found that when students had to write a fake news article they found it more difficult as they have to make their language “believable” as they try to persuade their viewers of false information they upload. Throughout this post I have been analysing sources and thinking about how I can teach students about what makes a credible site, when the teachers in this site have taken a different approach to do so. Students can see how easy it is for them to create a fake news post putting it into perspective for them to understand how easy it is to show unreliable information to the public. Students use their persuasive language skills to manipulate public viewers through their writing. I think this is an excellent activity to teach critical media skills to my classroom.
Pakarklis, E. (2013). 11 composition tips for taking great photos with your iPhone. Retrieved March, 2017, from http://www.idownloadblog.com/2013/09/23/ composition-tips-great-photos-iphone/