Yes, no, maybe so…

Last week’s blog post was about whether or not social media has a place in the classroom. This week we will explore how we can better equip our children with the tools to decipher if the resources they find are credible.

As an adult, I would like to think that we are better equipped to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate sources. Seeking out the best, most reliable resources requires a bit of footwork. As educators we must teach our students how to go about that footwork to make sure that they too can find credible resources. “The plethora of information available online, coupled with heavy reliance on the Internet by information seekers raise issues of the credibility or quality of information found online” (Metzger, pp. 2078). Not only is the large amount of information that can be accessed, it also allows for any person to be an author. There aren’t as many guidelines that regulate publishing online, so credibility is in question there as well.

These issues can create a difficult challenge in an educational setting. Our students have multiple ways to access information now, but they don’t have the skill sets to make the most informed decisions about resources and data. The new Common Core State Standards are challenging students to be able to:

  • Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • Gather relevant information form multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research (Common Core State Standards, 2014).

In order to teach our students how to determine the legitimacy of resources. Here are some questions you can ask your students:

  • What is your topic?
  • What is the URL?
  • Is the extension appropriate to the content?
  • Who is the author?
  • Is there contact information for the author?
  • What are the author’s credentials?
  • Does the site appear to be professional?
  • Are there typos and other errors?
  • What is the purpose of the sire?
  • Is there bias? If so, what is it?
  • Is this a primary or secondary source?
  • Are the citations or a bibliography?
  • Is there a date for the publication/revision of the page?
  • Does the information seem in depth and comprehensive?
  • Overall Evaluation…

(Gutherie, 2013).

If we can get our students into the habit of running through this process as they are researching resources, then they will be well on their way to exceeding the Common Core State Standards.

To find out more about what people’s thoughts were on the use of social media in the classroom were, I conducted a survey. If you view the mind map image, you can see the results.


Here is a link to some questions you may want to have your students ask themselves before they start exploring what they have found:



English Language Arts Standards » Anchor Standards » College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing. (2014, January 1). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from

Gutherie, E. (2013, August 27). Teaching Students to Determine Credibility of Online Sources (Free Student Handout!). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from

Metzger, M. (2007). Making sense of credibility on the web: Models for evaluating online information and recommendations for future research. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(13), 2078-2091.

Tucker, C. (2014, June 20). Common Core: Evaluating The Credibility of Digital Sources. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from


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