Improving students’ web use


Summary of Herring’s Chapter 6 (2011, pp. 78-89)

Students waste time in fruitless searching. Teach students to be web learners (not web users) i.e. reflective and effective web users. Guide students to think about what they are searching for and why they are searching before sending them off to search the web.

Clearly define the purpose of the task.

  • Concept mapping – as a tool for students to think about information needs and topic before searching / to revisit and change after searching
  • Question forming – brainstorming topics to develop essential Guiding questions (Who, What, What if, How, Should, Why, Which one?)

Guide students on how to search the web. Explain why they need a search strategy.

  • Brainstorm & concept map “How to be a good web searcher”

Reflect on why you need a search strategy. Teach/guide how to structure a good search engine query (Boolean searching, advance search) see Fig 6.4 page 82.

There are many web site evaluation guides. As above, Explain why the need for website evaluation and guide how to effectively evaluate websites.

  • Students produce a concept map on the “benefits of website evaluation”
  • Reflect
  • Compare different guides
  • Create own guides based on reflections (ownership)

Developing a personal model for web use

Herring (p.87) Students do not transfer skills and abilities in web use across subject or time. There are many Information   literacy models. Students create, develop and use their own information literacy model to help with transference.

Module activities: Planning for web searching

What is the best way to teach year 7 students to develop a concept/mind map?

  • Demonstrate & Explain – Show examples, you tube “how to clips”, brainstorm and create one with class on IWB or try or Apps like Simplemind+/mindmeister
  • Discuss the benefits of using mind maps to clarify task, define purpose, organise thoughts and ideas

What is the best way to teach year 7 students to develop their own questions?

Reading for information: Apply website evaluation criteria to sites when reading. Ensuring that students are capable of effectively evaluating websites will develop reading for information skills. Provide appropriate website evaluation criteria (suitable for the user) or help students develop their own set of criteria (in their own language) to support this learning.

Reflecting on web use: Self-evaluation I agree with Herring (2011, p.86) that reflecting on the search process should be integral to the assignment. Regular or habitual self-assessment (rubrics, checklists, question lists, De Bono’s thinking hats) can support skill development & goal setting, develop personal understanding of search process/learning (metacognition) and demonstrate student achievement. Importance of Metacognitive questions ; Reflective questions.

Herring, J. (2011). Improving students’ web use and information literacy: A guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet.


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