EasyBib has a new feature. According to their promo video , when you autocite a website, it will tell you if it is credible, not credible, or something in between.
For instance, Wikpedia is NOT deemed to be a credible source. I know there are differing options over that issue – but EasyBib gives a “black and white” answer …. (in this case displayed in red).
I am a great fan of EasyBib … but this feature makes me uncomfortable. I don’t mind automating a more “routine” kind of operation such as creating a citation. When all is said and done, at least automated citation tools make it easier for kids to “do the right thing”.
BUT….. as much as I like using web tools to enhance research, I don’t like automating the evaluation process. I want kids to THINK about their sources, track down evidence to support or reject a source, etc. In short, I want them to have the opportunity to do some higher level THINKING.
I’ve been testing EasyBib’s new evaluation feature. Easy Bib says this
It is a very cute website, created by Brian for a 4th/5th grade
classroom website. I use it as an example of a website that is NOT
credible, because the author is a child.
So much for the new feature. Machines just cannot think. Not really.
If we “outsource” the thinking process to machines, how long before our
ability to think will atrophy?
I’ve been testing EasyBib’s new evaluation feature. Easy Bib says this webpage is credible: Joust and Tournaments
It is a very cute website, created by Brian for a 4th/5th grade classroom website. I use it as an example of a website that is NOT credible, because the author is a child.
So much for the new feature. Machines just cannot think. Not really…. Even machines that are monitored by people… (see comment below from EasyBib rep). Every web page is an individual situation. If we “outsource” the thinking process to machines or other people, how long before our ability to think will atrophy?
It would be interesting to watch how the whole thing plays out. Another thing to miss when I retire….watching students and teachers adapt to new tools.
Don’t cringe Mr. Gore. In this case – I mean “global warming” in a good sense.
As you probably know, I have been promoting Web 2.0 applications while at the same time throwing myself at a seemingly insurmountable ice-berg …. our very restrictive content filter.
Our district has recently formed a technology committee charged with creating a vision for 21st century learning and seeing that the vision is implemented. I am fortunate enough to be on the committee.
During our first meeting, the issue of Web 2.0 came up and our superintendent asked me to prepare a presention to the committee at out next meeting.
What a great opportunity! But – how on earth do you get across the exciting possibilities without overwhelming folks with information?
Evidently, it must have been successful. The presentation was very well recieved by the committee. They asked great questions and we talked constructively about some of the barriers, such as teacher training and the content filter.
To make it even better, our superintendent called today, asking if I could repeat the presentation for our school board next Wednesday.
Through the wizardry of Web 2.0, your blog (or at least 2 printed pages of it) instantly morphs into a newsletter that can be printed and distributed to teachers.
I suspect that I will not use it myself. I am a die-hard. If I want my teachers to use blogs and other Web 2.0 tools, I will have to send them to the actual blog. So – I will continue to write the blog posts and then send the links to teachers via email.
Besides, if I were to use this tool, I would have to actually type in actual web addresses – not just hyperlinked titles. You just can’t click on that darned old-timey paper!
I have a dream. Someday all teachers will actually understand (and use!) RSS feeds. I know. Crazy librarian talk.
Grolier has stopped printing Americana & New Book of Knowledge etc, and is now publishing only the online version. I assume World Book and Britannica are continuing the print version along with the online version – at least for awhile.
If the “traditional” publishers want to compete with Wikipedia – are they planning to broaden their coverage? For instance, our 9th graders do research on young adult authors every year. MANY of those authors have not reached the level of “fame” etc. to merit inclusion in World Book, Americana et al. Wikipedia is often the only place I can send kids to do the broad, general, beginning research that I would like them all to start with before getting into author reference sets, whole biographies etc.
So – here are my questions….
1. Do the traditional encyclopedias plan to put online ONLY what they can feasibly publish in a print encyclopedia?
2. Are they going to take advantage of the limitless storage of the web to broaden both the scope and depth of their coverage?
Believe me – I COMPLETELY understand the drawbacks of Wikipedia. However, as cautious as I am about Wikipedia, I am questioning the value of continuing our subscriptions to the traditional encyclopedias, if I don’t see a significant change in their business plans.
Chris Potter (my partner in Web 2.0 Geekdom) just sent me this video – The Networked Student. Naturally – it’s blocked at school.
It is how we both want to teach. What’s holding us back? The content filter, aka “Bess the Barking Dog”. I’d actually like to use a synonym that would add some satisfying alliteration to that phrase. Oh well. Keep it PG.
Yes – it is frustrating. But it is not totally insurmountable. To quote & paraphrase from my reply to his email
We CAN’T throw up our hands and say “if I can’t use Delicious (Wikispaces, Blogger etc etc), then I am taking my toys and going home.” We HAVE to make compromises to get a little of what we want – and hopefully get a little more another day.
Student Accountability – We do not do nearly enough with holding kids accountable. We simply block things to make our lives easier. As teachers in charge of such a project, we would have to craft a realy tight “acceptable use policy” for collaborative projects. There would need to be specific, swift and significant consequences to violation of the policy. We would have to do memorable teaching about the ramifications of signing such a contract and what all the parts of it mean. Then – “violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”