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Can middle schoolers learn to read the web like experts? Possibilities and limits of a strategy-based intervention

Image is illustrative. By Rita Morais on Unsplash.

This paper describes the strategies 8th graders used to evaluate the credibility of unfamiliar websites after a curricular intervention. Website topics were somewhat contested, and students could navigate the open web in order to assess the credibility of the sites. Findings reveal that students were more likely to leave the presented webpages and investigate the sources before making a credibility judgment after the curricular intervention. Furthermore, after the intervention students were more likely to prefer a more credible source of information over a less credible source when the two sources were presented. However, few students improved in their ability to assess a single deceptive website, despite applying several of the strategies taught in the intervention. We conclude that strategy- and skills-based information literacy instruction holds promise but must be paired with foundational knowledge about how the internet is structured and the kinds of online sources.

Recommended Citation
Kohnen, A. M., Mertens, G. E., & Boehm, S. M. (2020). Can middle schoolers learn to read the web like experts? Possibilities and limits of a strategy-based intervention. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 12(2), 64-79.https://doi.org/10.23860/JMLE-2020-12-2-6