There are elements from Schrock, Downes, Bates, and Power that I would utilize into my own checklist to critically evaluate a web-based resource for myself and my students.
First, I would use the Critical Evaluation survey from Schrock (2015): Elementary School Level parts one and two:
Part 1: How Does it Look
Does the page take a long time to load?
Is the author’s name on the page?
Is there information columns on the page?
If you go to another page, can you get back to the first page?
Is there a date that tells you when the page was made?
Part 2: What did you learn
Does the title of the page tell you what it is about?
Is there an introduction on the page telling you what is included?
Are the facts on the page what you were looking for?
Would you have gotten more information from an encyclopedia or
Would the information have been more useful in the encyclopedia
Does the author of the page say some things you disagree with?
Does the page lead you to some other good information (links)?
Does the page include information you know is wrong?
Do the pictures and photographs on the page help you learn?
As this is less detailed than the teacher’s survey, it can still be utilized by both myself and my students. It can be particularly useful for choosing digital resources that provide specific content for a subject (like a page describing the water cycle for elementary science as an example)
From Downes I would include:
- Keep Count
8. Go to the source
Has this resource misled me before? Yes No
Am I familiar with this resource? Yes No
Can you go to the source? (If there’s no link or reference, don’t believe it) Yes No
Can you search for the same information elsewhere? Yes No
Bates: SECTIONS Model:
Ease of Use
Are students able to be learning within 20 minutes? (Orientation) Yes No
Is the Interface easy to use (screen layout, design) Yes No
Is the resource reliable? (Does it work on all internet browsers, different operating systems, different devices) Yes No
Are students able to interact with their peers and teacher? (Collaboration) Yes No
Are learners able to interact with the content in various ways? (Not just active recipients) Yes No
The portions from the SECTIONS Model and CSAM would especially be helpful when using a learning management system such as Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom. I find MS Teams to be quite difficult for elementary students to use, and we had several reports of the program crashing while students were trying to use it last year on distance learning. The “Ease of Use” portion of the SECTIONS model made me think (are students able to be learning within twenty minutes?) about whether or not MS Teams would be reliable for my grade three students if we return to fully online learning.
The survey from Schrock and the portion from Downes on this checklist would apply to a particular webpage (or other online media like a video or audio file) for students to utilize to get content for a specific assignment.
The 5Ws from Schrock is also an excellent resource to utilize as well and could be easily added to this checklist.
Bates, A. W. (2015). Chapter 8: Choosing and using media in education: The SECTIONS model. In Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/part/9-pedagogical-differences-between-media/
Downes, S. (2005, July 16). Principles for evaluating websites [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.downes.ca/post/4
Power’s (2013) “Collaborative Situated Active Mobile (CSAM) Learning Strategies: A New Perspective on Effective Mobile Learning” (CC BY 3.0).
Schrock, K. (2018). Critical evaluation of information. Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything. Retrieved from http://www.schrockguide.net/critical-evaluation.html