Friday, October 15, 2021

Two New BAD APPLE Challenges

 Two new BAD APPLE Challenges have just been added to our Website:

  • Challenge 2: All About Explorers
  • Challenge 3: CBS News Hoax Sites


Both provide a mixture of GOOD and BAD APPLES to sort out. Can the sites be trusted? How can you know?

For a limited time, both Challenges are available without a site subscription. Try them out today!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Bad Apples


Introducing the (re)release of Bad Apples, a series of do-it-yourself evaluation tutorials.

With the demise of Adobe Flash, a lot of interactive games and tutorials on the 21st Century Information Fluency site were forced into early retirement. Over time, many of these resources were rewritten so they work on current Internet browsers. 

We're pleased to announce the return of BAD APPLES, a series of challenges to strengthen investigative searching.

Presently, one challenge is available and it doesn't require an annual membership.  Challenge #1 features New Zealand Golf Cross, a site that's been around since 1998. To play, individuals research six apples (elements that determine credibility):

  1. Authorship
  2. Publisher
  3. Freshness
  4. Bias
  5. Backlinks
  6. Fact checking

A player then drags each apple to either the GOOD APPLE or BAD APPLE basket, depending on their assessment. One point is earned for each correct assessment. A comprehensive analysis of the site provides insights into what makes the site trustworthy or not as well as these strategies for conducting an effective investigation:

  1. How to find valuable information on a site
  2. How to determine site ownership
  3. How to determine the 'last modified' date
  4. How to detect types of bias
  5. How to find external reviews of site content
  6. How to fact check and where to look, including Google Scholar 

Once learned, these skills apply to all Internet content.

Ready to play?  Start Here:

Watch for more Challenges to come!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Evaluation Tutorials

For a limited time, try our Evaluation Challenges without a subscription!

Evaluation Challenges focus on three key aspects of evaluating digital content:

  1. Identity--who is the author or publisher?
  2. Freshness--how recent is the information?
  3. Accuracy--to what extent are the 'facts' supported by evidence?

Each of the 10 tutorials in this module is interactive, giving feedback to user responses, and hints as needed.

If encouraging students to evaluate what they read online is important to you, assign these as homework or work through them in class, one or two a day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Information Fluency in a Nutshell

Most sites that provide resources to help individuals improve their ability to locate, evaluate and use information from online sources describe those competencies as "information literacy." A few, like prefer the term "information fluency."

What is information fluency in a nutshell?

 Briefly stated, we believe fluency depends on knowing how to:

  • ask searchable questions
  • create optimal queries
  • choose an appropriate Database for searching
  • query unfamiliar Databases
  • browse unfamiliar Webpages and Databases
  • interpret a URL
  • truncate a URL
  • skim and scan
  • use the Find Command
  • locate information about an author, a publisher, date of publication and secondary references
  • fact check
  • detect bias
  • read to evaluate the relevance and credibility of information sources and content
  • format a citation
  • The resources on our site all address these competencies. Here's a sampling:

    Asking searchable questions: Keyword Challenges

    Creating Optimal queries: Search Challenges

    Browsing: Browsing Challenges

    Locate the author: Author Tutorials

    Locate the date: Date Detective

    And many more... For complete access to all materials, consider an affordable annual membership. Membership has its benefits!

    Friday, October 1, 2021

    Finding an (elusive) Author's name


    One of the most popular (visited) pages on is our collection of Citation Wizards.

    Each wizard (MLA, APA, Harvard, etc.) indicates information that is needed for a proper citation. One of these is the author's name. It is hardly any problem identifying an author's name in conventionally published sources. Self-published Internet sources are different. An author isn't required to leave his or her name; some prefer to leave just a first name or pseudonym. 

    A 12-part tutorial helps students (and teachers) with tools and strategies for finding elusive author's names. No subscription is required. 

    This tutorial package is paired with MicroModule: Author as a companion exercise.

    Try it out! How many challenges can you complete?

    Thursday, September 30, 2021

    Minecraft Challenge

    Play the Minecraft Challenge

    Microsoft acquired Minecraft in 2014 for $2.5 billion. That's a lot of money to pay for a video game.

    From 2014 through 2020, how much revenue did Microsoft earn with Minecraft? 

    This search challenge exercises "know what you are looking for." The challenge is also timed--see if you can answer the question correctly in under 3 minutes.

    Thursday, September 23, 2021

    Implicit Bias


    If you think you aren't biased, you're mistaken.

    Everyone who has personal preferences or a sense of right vs wrong is biased.  Bias isn't always blatantly racist, sexist, political or religious. It can be implicit, that is, a person with an implicit bias may not be aware of it.

    Implicit biases shape how we think and act. We--I include myself--choose to read certain types of online authors, publishers and content and avoid others. 

    This fall's Full Circle articles spotlight implicit bias and how it's not enough to teach students to recognize bias in what they read, they also need to recognize it in themselves. Undetected bias is a filter that keeps out disagreeable content, letting in only that which is agreeable. The big danger in never being challenged by contrary beliefs is that the things we hold to be true remain uninformed and hard to defend.

    Full Circle Fall 2021 Table of Contents