Monday, April 9, 2012

Web evaluation without a checklist

For the first 2/3rds of class, we were able to conference with Debbie Abilock about how we do web evaluation without having a checklist.  I think our final thoughts were, it's pretty impossible to commit everything that you need to know about web evaluation into a short checklist. There are too many grey areas, and subjective elements to have hard and fast rules about what should or should not be on a website. It's also difficult because one page might be fine and another page could be problematic. For example, the New York Times website has plenty of news stories, but it also has a lot of blogs, and it's difficult to tell the difference between the two. There was also some talk about vocabulary, I am now and always have been a big fan of calling things what they are, even if kids are too small to understand. Yes, they may not fully understand at the beginning, but we can't call the same thing by different names and not have that cause confusion.
After that we talked about budgets, which brought up an interesting ethical dilemma. If we're running out of money or our budgets are getting frozen, do we spend everything we have to make sure we can get the materials we need? I for one would hesitate to do this, but that might be my father's influence (he's an accountant). If we want school districts to be fiscally responsible, then we need to be an example. What I worry about, though, is frozen accounts that are because of political maneuvering, and not necessarily because there isn't enough money. I guess it all goes back to personal preference and what you would be comfortable with. As a favorite archives professor once said (in response to how we decide what to keep and what to throw away when creating an archive) "prepare for the long dark night of the soul" (I'm fairly certain he stole that from someone else, not sure who though).


  1. My dad's an accountant, too! Maybe that's where I get this fiscal-responsibilty-knee-jerk-reaction thing :)

  2. Your point about vocabulary is valid--if the point is to not confuse students, using euphemisms or simpler words until they're "old enough" isn't doing them any favors.

  3. Blogs and news/news and blogs. That is going to be a huge challenge in the future to help our students understand. What's news and what is opinion? I believe the pendulum is swinging towards the blog. We won't have much access to unbiased news reports in the future I'm afraid.

  4. I think it is also good to challenge students' vocabulary now, rather than have them be confused later. At least in school they are in a learning environment, whereas later on in life they may be embarrassed for not knowing what a word or concept means.


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