Originality matters when digital children write and learn, but many 21st Century students have considerable difficulty understanding what the idea of original content really means.
Check out How the Internet Affects PlagiarismatKQED Mindshift, a blog post that describes how plagiarism is evolving in today’s digital world. According to the article, students today do less looking for “unoriginal content” at sites that sell papers or other pre-written documents (compared to the past), and they use lots more content from the almost unlimited digital resources that are available on the Internet.
Even in today’s fast-paced virtual world, these tips never seem to age. Help kids learn to make good choices.
1. Who made the site? Is it from a university or other institution? Is it for-profit or non-profit. Corporate? Look for an “about” link that describes the site.
2. When was the site made and how often is the site updated? Somewhere, usually at top or bottom it should tell. Is this site updated recently? If not this may be a reason to check out another website on your topic.
3. Is it possible to contact the webmaster or the sponsor of the site? Is there a “contact us” link somewhere on the page?
4. How much advertising is on the page, and how aggressive is it? Good sites that use advertising are careful to keep it from being “in your face.”
5. Does the site state its mission? Why was it set up?
If you find yourself thinking about the digital research activities of children, especially older students who complete significant amounts of their research using the unlimited resources available on the World Wide Web, you are not alone. Over the past 10 years I have wondered — more than once and sometimes with great angst — if my child and the many children I’ve known really understand the need to evaluate the resources that they find on the web.
Earlier this year I discovered a small book, published by the MacArthur Foundation, describing research that explored how children perceive the quality and reliability of digital media. It’s a book that concerned parents may want to read. In Kids and Credibility: An Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media Use, and Information Credibility, authors Andrew J. Flanagin and Miriam J. Metzger, summarize their study as a “…comprehensive investigation into youth’s Internet use and their assessment of the credibility of online information.” The authors wondered whether young digital media users, while sophisticated and fearless about using technology, could evaluate information and determine its quality.
To learn more about young people and web credibility the researchers planned and executed a web-based survey of more than 2,000 children age 11 – 18. Study participants also completed a range of Internet tasks, evaluating information, making judgements about content, and explaining how and why they complete web tasks in certain ways. While there is far too much to cover in one blog post — check out the many interesting graphs in the publication — I’ve listed a few of the most interesting observations below. Continue reading “Kids and Web Resource Credibility”→
When I was in what we used to call junior high, working on my first bona-fide school research projects, mired down with things to read, and wishing to be finished, my father reminded me over and over again, “… you cannot attribute too much, only too little.” Even now, years later, with only a few words written on a page, I start thinking about Dad’s attribution credo.
Every parent of digital kids needs to share Dad’s strategy whenever children are working on school projects and papers. It is way too easy, in this age of Google, Wikipedia, and easy instant access to digitized scholarly articles, to write about another person’s ideas without giving credit.