Friday, October 9, 2009

Is Reading Believing?

Unfortunately for many students, reading is believing.

There could have been a time when information that appeared in print may have been trustworthy--thanks to editors and (hopefully) experts who reviewed it before it went to press--but that's no longer a safe assumption.

Because of the Internet, the reader has become the editor.

Before an evaluation can be made, one needs to know something about the author, publisher, references, or content; probably a combination of these things.

So here's an author challenge that's appropriate for students. Look at this blog: The Future is Green. The content is about sustainability, energy, the green movement, etc. But can the views expressed be believed? Knowing some facts about the author (and possibly checking out those facts) provides some perspective on the author's words.
Try this or have your students try it:
  1. Locate the author's name (not hard)
  2. Find information about the author (requires browsing)
  3. Determine if the author knows what he is talking about, based on his experience, education, associations, accomplishments, etc.
  4. Fact-check information about the author. Having another source (other than the author) confirm what the author says about himself is always a good idea.
So, should the author be believed? Why or why not?

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