Dennis O'Connor and I have created a new online course in information forensics for students, teachers and librarians. It's called Investigative Searching 20/10, playing off the metaphor of 'better-than-average' vision. When it comes to locating and evaluating information from the Internet, students (on average without training) score in the 40% range. That means that more often than not, they cannot locate and determine the credibility of the author, publisher, publication date, content and references. Adults, who have the benefit of life experience (even if they lack the younger generation's computer skills) score in the 60% range.

That leaves a lot of room for improvement.

This is a 24/7 on-demand training experience that takes about 8 hours to work through. It starts with t a 10 item pretest and is followed by interactive tutorials in search and evaluation (information forensics) techniques. At the end is a posttest. Most individuals improve by an average of 15% points. A score of 80% is about as good as it gets--since the Internet is unpredictable and information is not always possible to trace.

If you are interested in learning more or registering for this experience, visit http://21cif.mrooms.net/course/view.php?id=72 (log in as a guest).

This summer, the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University is using this package as a training module before 1,000 middle school and high school students arrive at summer camps. This provides everyone with a strong foundation for doing online research in Northwestern's program. Maybe your students can benefit from this approach as well.

In addition to earning 8 CPDU's, you may discover ways to use this with students at your school. There is a $25 fee to participate. The course starts July 7 and is open until August 7, though it takes only 8 hours to complete.

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Tags: assessment, evaluation, fluency, forensics, information, investigative, literacy, searching

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