The road so far…How my point of view has changed from the beginning to the end of this course

MAn looking at he sunset Words: If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change Wayner Dyer

Made on Pixlr Original picture “Point of View” ” CC0

Something to think about

Our need for knowledge can change based on our point of view or on the completeness of the information available to us.   Over the length of this class and even within each module, my point of view regarding Webpage technologies has changed and morphed into a more well-rounded and informed outlook.

In terms of evaluating various sites on the Internet,  the point of view of a college student researching a term paper is very different from the point of view of a  mom-to-be looking for ideas for decorating a nursery. Both users can find what they need on the web, but the criteria that they use to evaluate the website varies.  For the purpose of this blog entry, I am going to focus on the academic side of evaluating websites.

Evaluating websites

After reviewing numerous resources about how to properly evaluate a website, I find myself much more skeptical when surfing the web. I always knew that trusting information from Wiki sites was not the best idea, especially for research purposes, but I had not realized how many other components should be evaluated before considering a site to be reliable.

The model presented by Jim Kapoun. 5 criteria for evaluating websites, seemed to make the most sense to me. Kapoun suggests looking at a website for:

  1.  Accuracy
  2. Authority
  3. Objectivity
  4. Currency
  5. Coverage

If a website can pass these 5 “tests” then there is a pretty good chance you have found a viable research source. I actually wish I had known about this theory long ago, instead of in my LAST Master’s class.

One of our assignments was to make a mock training module on how to evaluate a website and I based it on the Kapoun theory.

screenshot of my weebly site for evaluating websiites

Screenshot of my Weebly site for evaluating websites

 

Take a look at my Weebly site for more in-depth information on this topic.

 

 

 

As far as what I  would like to add to this module, I think that more concrete examples or materials would be helpful to understand this abstract concept . A chart about what to look for in evaluating various sites or a screen cast of how a site meets (or does not meet) criteria, may be helpful. Or maybe even a worksheet, like this one from Pulaski technical College to make sure all points of evaluation are explored.

screenshot of a worksheet from Pulaski Technical college on website evaluation

worksheet screenshot  from Pulaski Technical College

Reflection on the course

“Webpage Technologies” has been very eye-opening for me. It has allowed me to take textbook knowledge and apply it to the Digital World through blogging, website creating, coding and more.

While I have connected with many of the topics covered, The section on coding had the biggest impact

I had almost zero experience with this idea of Coding. I heard about the Hour of Code and had seen referenced in articles, but I never had the hands-on experience before this class.

As a math geek, it was like lightning in a bottle. I was immediately attracted to the order, the structure and the language,  It was like algebra in text form. I love the fact that a specific line of code creates a specific outcome. Only one right answer. If it didn’t work, then you find the problem and fix it.

Very mathematical.

I’m hooked.

And pretty amazed at the fact that the entire Internet is nothing more than a gigantic series of codes strung together seamlessly.  I was taking the technology for granted.

I would have like more of an opportunity to integrate coding into the projects of this class. But not to worry, I am pretty sure that I will be doing some more research on my own this summer.

Application

My students have multiple disabilities. It is very difficult for them to access the web on their own, no matter what adaptations they have. However, they can provide directions, use partial participation, sequence and make decisions. So, I can see a place for coding in my class.

In fact, I have just been able to purchase 2 Sphero robots and accessories to start a little Robotics group in my class. I am hopeful that it will provide my students with the motivation they need to work on their skills through cutting-edge technology.

I envision races, mazes, scavenger hunts and much more!

I also took the opportunity to apply some of the accessibility guidelines to the website of my own school. Surprisingly, as a school for students with multiple disabilities, we need to improve  tremendously, in just about every category. Hopefully I can address that with the powers that be soon.

 

 

 

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