CULLMAN, Ala. – As anyone who has ever used Google can attest, the internet is bursting with useful things — but it can also be a bit complicated to parse the information from the misinformation. To make it a bit easier, Cullman City Schools is starting young with internet-focused curriculum at the elementary level to give students the tools to safely, and wisely, use the internet.
Essentially, students are being taught the difference in an authentic trustworthy online source and those that are not. To do that, East Elementary School Library Media Specialist Savannah Wood explained students are learning a method where they’re able to check a website quickly for accuracy by modeling if its current, determining its relevance, its authority, its accuracy and its purpose.
Wood explained students are getting an opportunity to practice and use those skills in their online and research assignments this year.
“When students use information for learning purposes, or for sharing with others via Google projects, they must know the importance of using and sharing accurate information,” she said. “It’s important they learn not to automatically trust everything they read in a world where ‘fake news’ is being presented more and more. We want them to be able to determine the accuracy of information themselves, on their own.”
As part of the curriculum, Wood explained, she uses anchor charts and modeling to go through the steps of how to “test” the content they’re finding, walking students through the process on the SmartBoard. After that, she gives them a website to practice on, and students have to determine if the information there is legitimate or not.
“Then they’ll eventually do a Google slide presentation where they give reasons and evidence for why what they’re using is a good source of information,” Wood explained.