Teaching Information Literacy and Digital Citizenship
Tools: Websites and Apps

Week 4 Introduction and Learning Goals

Lesson Topic: Teaching Information Literacy and Digital Citizenship

Lesson Tools: Website and Apps for Teaching and Learning


Ready?!? Let's get to it!

What is Digital Citizenship?

Digital Citizenship is a broad concept encompassing all aspects of appropriate technology use, and is directed towards students developing a strong commitment to digital ethics and digital etiquette in schools and society. Check out this video from CyberWise.org on the importance of teaching and modeling digital citizenship, and for a wealth of resources you can use to get started:

Want a more graphic representation of Digital Citizenship that you can share with your students? Check out this infographic created by Mia MacMeekin from her blog AnEthicalIsland.wordpress.com:

 Think about your own students. Which areas illustrated in the infographic do you think they struggle with the most?

What is Information Literacy?

In this day and age of the Internet, teachers and students must develop skills to become their own search experts, fact-checkers, and information analysts when working online. This means, according to the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, that an information literate person:

Information literacy, therefore, is defined by the American Library Association (ALA) as a set of skills which require you and your students to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information".

Because information is the currency of learning, we must serve as models for our students to learn new literacies related to the digital world we live in, which includes knowing how to "locate, gather, organize, interpret, synthesize, manage, present, use and evaluate" information/data found online (Small, 2011).

Jot down how many of the answers you know to the following questions from a just-for-fun quiz created by information-literacy expert Alan November to assess your own Web Literacy:

How did you do? Indicate your level in this poll to see how you did relative to the rest of your classmates: 

Didn't do so well? Take some time to explore Alan November's website for areas in which you are deficient or would like to know more information about how you can improve your own web literacy. Hint: you may see related questions on your Self-Assessment Quiz. ;-) 

Accessing and Assessing the Internet's Vast Resources

The Internet is a library of unimaginable size and scope that continually grows by leaps and bounds, even in the amount of time it took to write this sentence. Take a look at this infographic citing data provided by computer chipmaker Intel that illustrates the amount of information and activity that takes place in just 60 seconds of time:

What are the necessary skills we need to teach our students to be able to weed through and whittle down such a vast amount of information on the web?

Full-Text, Keyword, and Boolean Searches


Want a neat way to show your students proper search techniques? Check out Let Me Google That For You (LMGTFY), a website that allows you to quickly create a short video showing how to conduct a search. Just visit the site, type in your search term, and it creates the video for you! Check out the example I made to see how it can work.


Filtering Search Results

Most search engines allow you to filter and refine your search results by content type, publish date, location, language, and even color, size, and usage rights on images. Another feature of Google is the 'Safe Search' feature, which ensures that sexually explicit videos and images will be filtered out of search results, along with results that might link to explicit content. Students who are aware of these capabilities will have a much easier time locating relevant information without having to weed through irrelevant results.

Finding Text on a Webpage

Once a credible webpage has been found, students need to know how to quickly locate the information or terms in which they were originally searching. Luckily, you don't have to scroll down through lines and lines of text and waste time reading all parts of a webpage. Using your keyboard, press Ctrl-f, and you'll be able to search for any word or phrase on the web page that you're on.

Try It!

Press the Ctrl Key + F on your Keyboard, and search the word 'information' on this very page (if you're on a Mac, it might be Cmd + F).
How many times did you find the word? Hover here to find out if you're correct!


 You have many resources at your disposal to get up to speed and teach your students about effectively accessing Internet resources. One such resource you could explore as a M-W-B activity is an entire series of classes on Power Searching with Google.


Take a moment to watch a particularly helpful three minute video on the most critical tools you and your students can leverage to search more powerfully (what I love about this is that older students are teaching younger students the tips/tricks for searching):


Notice in this section we're shifting our study to assessing information. Once students locate information, they need to be able to discern it's credibility, validity, and relevance. Take a moment to view this video from the University of Victoria Libraries that illustrates why it is so important to be able to do this: 


Still worried about letting your students search freely on the open web? No problem! Set up your own custom Google Search engine, and pre-select the sites that students can search. See the video below for a demonstration from YouTube user ReadingRoadrunner of how this works:


Teaching Netiquette and Combating Cyberbullying


Just as we teach students from an early age about acceptable norms of behaving in our society, we must teach them how to behave acceptably and thrive in a digital world. Take a moment to complete a fun game created by Carnegie Mellon University to assess your own netiquette knowledge. What are some strategies you can use to teach your own students netiquette as a lesson or in your everyday teaching?

The following short video from the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium is a demonstration of a teacher who is purposefully teaching students about the importance and skills of netiquette.



Cyberbullying has emerged as a serious issue in schools and in society, so much so that almost every state now has laws related to cyberbullying, cyberstalking, or cyberharrassment (see the National Council of State Legislatures website). Further, several organizations, institutes and resources have been formed to help combat the problem.

Take a moment to explore at least one of the following websites to learn more about the impacts of cyberbullying and how you can help to combat it.

TeachThought.com has created a simple but powerful acronym to combat cyberbullying and encourage digital citizenship that you can share with your students:

#TarletonOOC Week 4 Tools: Websites and Apps

Using Educational Websites for Teaching and Learning

An educational website provides you with digital content specifically designed with learning goals in mind. There are literally thousands upon thousands of these types of websites created and maintained by colleges and universities, historical and scientific organizations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, etc. The most valuable sites give you high-quality, customizable instructional resources and engaging learning activities for students. Finding good educational websites is tough, but there are two reputable resources you can use to do so:

Maloy et al., (2013) has provided a helpful way to categorize educational websites as shown below. Part of your experiment activity this week will be to critically review an educational website, so begin thinking about which category best fits your needs. You don't need to review all of these websites, but take some time to review at least one from each category to get a feel for the different types of educational websites out there.


Lesson Planning/Activity Websites - Offer you ideas for classroom lessons with step-by-step methods and procedures. Popular sites include:

Student-to-Expert Communication Websites - Allow you and your students to formulate authentic questions and send them to experts in the field, e-tutors, or e-mentors and receive replies electronically. Reputable sites include:

Real-Time and Recorded Data Websites - Provide you and your students with real-time and recorded data where students can observe and learn as if they were physically present at a remote location. Popular sites include:

Archival and Primary Source Websites - Allow you and your students to conduct historical investigations by accessing primary and archival source materials from museums, libraries, and other organizations. These sources can include print-based materials, images, photographs, and video.

Skills Practice Websites - Offer subject specific activities for students at all grade levels, and can be used for tutoring, learning stations, or small group work.

Exploration and Discovery Websites - Interactive websites that allow students to explore topics of interest, and use a connectivist approach to learning. 


Using Apps for Teaching and Learning

These days, you can't turn on your TV, open a magazine, or walk past a billboard without be confronted with in-your-face messages about "apps". For almost everything you need in life, "there's an app for that"!

The word "app" is an abbreviation for application, and it typically refers to dedicated, simplified versions of a software application that you can access on your mobile or tablet device. The reason apps are so exciting for those of us in the education field is because of the "portability" factor - they enable anytime, anywhere interactive learning. They can be used for literally thousands of educational purposes in the areas of:

Just like the ocean of educational websites you can drown in, the number of educational apps can be just as overwhelming in terms of selecting quality, reputable, reliable sources. Luckily, there are useful resources for you to use in your selection process:

You'll get a chance to experiment with an app of your choice later in the Week 4 module, but I'd like to introduce you to several high-impact apps that you might find useful:



Remember in Week 3 when I said that I didn't truly understand the value of Evernote until I saw it's cross-device capabilities? Downloading the mobile app on my phone and tablet prompted my ah-ha moment when I realized I can literally save anything and have it with me where ever I go. The app allows you to add to and access all of your notebooks, tags, audio files, pictures, etc. from your phone or tablet. Check out this review of the app from Mobile Informers:



Mobile learning is a fast-growing descendant of e-learning but necessitates the same organization that is provided by an LMS so students have a central location for accessing content, interacting with the teacher and each other, and submitting work. Until recently, you could only access the Blackboard LMS via a web browser on your phone or tablet, and it was hokey at best. However, you can now access the LMS via the Bb app, and while it is still limited in functionality (as most apps are), it does the trick for allowing you to participate in the course while on the go.

The app is now free for all users, and is avaible on both apple and android devices! You can access our own #TarletonOOC course by downloading the app to your device, and search for Tarleton State Universtiy. Enter your username/password, and you'll see our class!  

It's Not Perfect:

From the instructor side of things, I'm not able to actually grade anything (a real limitation), and students are not able to submit assignments with attachments. There is also nothing more frustrating than when I've typed up a response or post, tapped 'submit', and the app just crashes. Another limitation is that, in the app, discussions are in plain text, so you can't see images or formatted text.

But It's The Future:

Mobile devices have become a fixture in our daily lives, and more and more students will access content in this way. As designers/instructors, we will have to be cognizant of and anticipate the challenges of the differences in the way our courses look on a computer vs. a mobile device.



Google Apps

We've talked at length about how Google tools like Drive, G+, and Hangouts can help you take your classroom to a new collaborative level. It turns out that the mobile versions of these tools are quite robust, and allow you access to many of the same web-based functionalities that we've seen before - all while you're on the go.

Take some time to explore the following Google Apps by clicking on each image:




Other High-Impact Websites and Apps for Student Creation/Higher-Order Thinking

Want to explore other high-impact Websites/Apps and the concept of "Apps Smashing"? Now's your chance!

Thinglink.com - have students add text and video annotations to images and share with others. I've added a non-academic example below. ;-)


PowToon.com - students can create animated presentations to illustrate data (think of it as a video version of an infographic)

Tellagami - have students create a character and record their voice to make the character come alive.

ShowMe or Explain Everything - have students annotate and narrate their understanding of concepts.

Skitch - have students take a screenshot and draw on it.

Doceri - you and your students can use this app as an interactive whiteboard and screencast recorder for hand-drawn graphics and built-in remote desktop control.

Popplet - have students use this interactive mind-map to think and learn visually.


Apps Smashing:

Warning - if you're already on overload, this might just push you over the edge, but it's really neat stuff!

The idea with Apps Smashing is that students use two or more apps to create multi-layered (ex. images, text, avatars, audio) products to demonstrated their knowledge and understanding. 2015 Team Innovators Lead Charity Hatley (@chatley1284) created the tutorial below to illustrate how to have your students smash Tellagami and Skitch together.

Want to know more? As a M-W-B activity, check out the training 2015 Team Ignite Lead Brianna Hodges (@mrscoachhodges) developed on Apps Smashing. You can view the Prezi she created here.


Wrap Up


I realize this five-week course is packed with information, but taking the time to explore your own learning path will help you to solidify and find meaning in what we're learning. I love to see each of you sharing what you've found on a 'M-W-B' path with each other on twitter and in your team community page. Keep up the great work - you're almost to the finish line!


References and Resources


American Library Association. Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. Final Report. (1989). Chicago: American Library Association. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/whitepapers/presidential.cfm

Association of College and Research Libraries (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Chicago, IL: The Association of College and Research Libraries. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/standards/standards.pdf


Maloy, R.W., Verock-O'Loughlin, R., Edwards, S.A., and Woolf, B.P. (2013). Transforming learning with new technologies, 2ed. New York: Pearson Higher Education.

Small, R. (2011). Surviving in the information age: What does it mean to be literate in the 21st century? On Cue, 21(2).


Temple, K. (2012). What happens in an Internet minute? [Web log]. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/standards/standards.pdf