I recently tried an online activity in my EDTS 325 course that really made me think and analyze what I read on the internet. I participated in an “Information Race” where we were split into teams and had to find answers to a particular set of questions using the internet. The first team to finish was the winner.
As my team member and I were trying to find the answers as quickly as possible, we did not question the information we were reading or the answers we were finding. We would write down what we read and move on to the next question as soon as possible. Once we were finished, our instructor asked us if we noticed anything odd about the questions/answers we had. One question was regarding the dangers associated with Dihydrogen Monoxide. We used the website given by our instructor (http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html) and found out that it could cause death, severe tissue damage, and can cause severe burns. Once we actually took the time to look at the word “Dihydrogen Monoxide,” we realized it was H20… water… it was W A T E R ! ! ! We went back to look through the website and realized it was in no way an accurate and an accountable source to use.
So why do people believe a good portion of what they read or see on the internet? What makes a website a valuable source? As a pre-service teacher, I think it is important to teach students, at home and at school, about all aspects of global citizenship. This includes internet safety, information literacy, relationships & communication, cyberbullying, creative credit & copyright, self-image & identity, privacy & security, and digital footprint & reputation. The earlier we inform students about digital citizenship, the more knowledgeable they will be about the online world (& hopefully a lot safer!).
Although the internet is a valuable source of communication and knowledge, it can also be a very dangerous place. In my opinion, the biggest aspect of global citizenship to teach students is privacy and security. Once they understand the possible dangers they could run into while using the internet, they are able to build up their global citizenship (safely) from there!