Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shocking Discovery...

Topic: What can you tell me about the group that made this site? Do you think this site is appropriate for use in schools? Why or why not? How can kids learn to be less trusting of information on the Internet (especially given the address of this site)? Do an Internet search for Martin Luther King -- Where does this site appear in your list of results (and, which search engine did you use)? How do you think they got to be so high on the list?

When I first opened this site, I thought it was an average informational site on MLK. But then I read the quote on the side and I was confused... it didnt seem like a quote that was appropriate for the type of site I thought this was. When I googled the publisher, Stormfront, I learned that they are basically a white supremacist group, or white nationalist as they call themselves. This site is definitely biased and completely inappropriate for school use. I realize that nobody is perfect, and I'm sure that Mr. King had his indiscretions, but students should take facts from an unbiased and more reliable source. The fact that this is a .org site is troubling because kids are taught that those sites are usually more valuable than a .com site. As a future teacher, I think it's important for students to be taught how to evaluate information and websites, just as we did this week. Doing some research on the publisher can tell a student a lot about the minds behind the website. When I searched google, this site came up 8th or 9th on the list... right on the front page! That was scary because I rarely move past the front page, and Im sure most students do the same. I wouldnt be surprised at all if a student looked at this site, however I hope the student had been taught some critical thinking in regards to what a website contains. I think a great way to show students how incorrect some information on the Internet is would be to show them websites with blatantly incorrect or biased information (obviously not as offensive as this one) and then explain how anyone can create a website if they wish. It seems to me that evaluating websites would be one of the first steps when teaching Internet literacy. I'm sure this site got so high on the list mostly because of their web address. In most cases it will perfectly match what was searched. Also, the mini-description of the page makes it sound like a teacher's dream, instead of the nightmare it really is.

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