Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Source Evaluation Moves with Linda Hoiseth

The synergy of Twitter always amazes me. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was planning a lesson with our grade 9 Science team on source evaluation. In middle school, I had taught students the CRAAP model but now wanted to take them to the next level: to help them listen to their own instincts and push toward more critical thinking rather than checklists. 

With high school students, I have been introducing the idea of evaluation "moves" - actions we take to verify, question, and critique a source. 

I found John Green's Crash Course, "Navigating Digital Information," particularly helpful and now talk about active evaluation skills, such as lateral reading and reading upstream, as an extension to the CRAAP model.

But I was looking for a new tool. Something that would provide structure to students as they work through the process of choosing sources but encourage them to dig deeper than a checklist.

Enter, Linda Hoiseth, via Twitter! 

Linda is a librarian I have admired from afar for her thoughtful and innovative work in research skills with students. Although we've never worked together, we have been Twitter pals for many years and I've learned so much from her. 

Just as I was stuck in mid-planning mode, she posted this grid that reenergized my approach. She calls her process "Inside/Outside." 

It provides guiding questions to help students evaluate what's within a source and what can be found beyond the source. She focuses attention on four areas: Authority, Bias, Content, and Date. A final category, Evaluation, is completed at the end.

Here's how I used her grid in my plan for Gr 9 Science:

1) Students work in small groups on a particular topic

2) They review the list of sources I chose that range from too biased, to overly complicated, to unsuitable purpose, to just right.

3) As a group, they identify the best source to answer the overall question of the unit: "How do environmental factors affect genetic variation?"

4) To make their choice, students work through source evaluation moves, guided by the questions on Linda's chart

These "Inside/Outside" moves include:

  • Skimming and scanning (is it understandable for your reading level?)
  • Identifying the purpose of the information & any possible bias
  • Lateral Reading (Read across the internet to see how the source connects to others. I use the analogy of a web)
  • Reading Upstream (Read "up" to get as close to the original source of the information as possible. I use the analogy of cows pooping in a river :)
Here is an example of a group's completed grid. It took 45-60 minutes to view the sources, identify the best one, and complete the chart.

In the next class, students used the source to complete a "CER" (Claim, Evidence, Rationale) paragraph to answer the overarching question.

Shortly after teaching this lesson, I learned of another tool with a similar focus: SIFT. (Stop, Investigate, Find other sources, Trace claims)

SIFT is a set of moves created by Mike Caufield in 2017.
via Mike Caufield
SIFT Infographic

I asked Linda if she would like to share some of her thinking about the tool she created.

Here is the backstory!

by Linda Hoiseth, American Embassy School, New Delhi

"I keep this article about a Stanford study bookmarked to remind myself of the importance of teaching real-life web evaluation, and have been looking for a framework to teach that is useful in both academic and personal settings. I’ve been using ABCD rather than CRAAP for several years, particularly with middle school students, because I like its simplicity (and it doesn’t make them giggle). Each time I approach the topic with students, they repeat outdated messages about site evaluation that they’ve been taught: “If it’s a .com it’s bad but a .org is good,” “It has ads, so it’s unreliable,” etc., and I know that we have to move them beyond that simplistic thinking. Mike Caulfield’s SIFT post was enlightening to me, and I wanted to incorporate his ideas into my teaching. Thus, the Inside/Outside ABCD.

The seventh grade social studies teachers at my school and I have been working with students on the National History Day project. The assignment requires annotated bibliographies, which we’d already introduced to students as they used print and database sources. We know that website evaluation requires an additional level of attention, and NHD addresses that in their guidelines.

In our lesson with the grade sevens, we talked about the need to look carefully at what creators of a site say about themselves, but also what they don’t say. We asked the students to look at all of the websites they will use for their project with this critical lens, so we didn’t require them to fill in every box on the evaluation form. If they find something that tells them immediately that a site is unreliable or not useful for their purposes, they should just move on. Likewise, if they already know about the site or it is recommended by a teacher, they only need to gather enough rationale to complete their annotation.

My hope is that this process is quick enough that it isn’t onerous and simply becomes part of their thinking whenever they encounter websites. Let’s be honest: I don’t fill out a checklist whenever I approach a new website, but I do think about who is behind the site and what their bias is and whether or not the content is backed up elsewhere. Ultimately, I want my students to do the same."

Thank you, Linda, for sharing this and for making your work available to me and others. Our international librarian community is strong because of our culture of collaboration.

Going forward, I like the idea of teaching source evaluation skills as "moves" - actions we take versus viewing a source passively and trying to glean its value from what it presents about itself. I like the ownership and power we experience as researchers when we actively fact-check and seek different perspectives.

So now, with Linda's ABCDE Inside/Outside chart and the SIFT tool, I have two ways to guide students in the source evaluation process. By using both, students will begin to internalize the "moves" needed to become independent evaluators, not dependent users of a checklist or acronym to remember.

No comments:

Post a Comment