Posts Tagged ‘critical thinking’

Evaluating Websites

The Internet can be an excellent source of information on a variety of topics. However, web-based information may not always be reliable. Publishing documents on the web is easy and inexpensive; therefore, “buyer beware” is a good rule of thumb when using Internet resources. While many websites provide reliable, trustworthy information, there are just as many that are inaccurate or even deceptive.

Students learn critical thinking skills by evaluating and selecting high-quality sources of information. In my classroom, I have used resources from the University of California, Berkeley for teaching students how to evaluate websites for academic research. An evaluation checklist is also available in several formats and may be reproduced for classroom use.

Image: jscreationzs /

ISTE NETS-S Implementation Wiki

April 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Image: Matt Banks /

The International Society for Technology in Education hosts the Nets for Students Implementation Wiki. The wiki is a resource that provides opportunities for educators to collaborate to design learning activities that implement NETS-S standards. Wiki topics are organized by standards and by grade level.

On the Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making page, Debbie Kritikos presented an algebra project (Scenario B) in which students created an automobile sales flyer. They used the Internet to locate the invoice price and MSRP for a new vehicle. Then, they calculated the discount, tax, and financing costs using Internet-based loan calculators. They also calculated savings between the prices by using percent of change. Then, they created an automobile advertising flyer using a template within Microsoft Word. Kritikos reported that her students identified with the realistic situation of buying a car. They learned the concept of paying interest and the fact that to afford the car of their choice, they needed to get a good job.

Another member of the wiki, Thomas Wright, noted that the scenario presented by Kritikos allowed the students to:

* Identify and define authentic problem with significant question for investigation. The students were instructed to find a car of their choice and develop a sales flyer to lure customers to buy the car.

* Plan/manage activities to develop a solution/complete a project. The students were to find ways to provide financing to customers so that they could afford the cars through discounts from invoices, tax breaks and special financing.

* Collect and analyze data to make informed decisions. The students calculated finance costs in different ways to see what would be the best rate. After comparing financing options, students decided which option would best benefit the customer.

He suggested that an additional step should be added to require students to add insurance costs to the cost of owning the car. He stated that many times, insurance can be the final step in deciding whether to buy certain types of cars. This addition would allow students to see that financing does not determine whether a customer can afford a car–insurance plays a key part, too. The scenario was made even stronger by adding Wright’s perspective.

This project is well-suited for applications in secondary math or technology. It effectively integrates technology concepts with practical math applications. In a secondary technology classroom, this project might be used for teaching a unit on desktop publishing applications.