Noticing, Naming, and Navigating

Noticing, Naming, and Navigating

As we continue to unpack how to teach our elementary students how to effectively read online, tonight in class we examine several techniques we can use in our classrooms. The first of these techniques would include identifying specific types of online information our students may come into contact with as they read online. At this point we can separate out types of web content into categories such as: wikis, blogs, general websites, social networks, and other. The category of “Other” would include Internet and Communication Technology (ICT) texts and tools we previously did not include. Please keep in mind that I believe that this is problematic as the form, organization, and structure of online information is constantly changing…and as a result we (the reader) needs to be flexible as well.

The second of these techniques included noticing and naming elements of a webpage that we can use to provide a common dialogue between teachers and students. I would suggest using the “correct” terms for many of these elements of web design…and not watering down the terminology to make it easier for students to understand. The markers of online information to notice and name while you consider the purpose, audience, and design aesthetics of the webpage or website:

  • ·      Upper Chrome and Lower Chrome: the borders of the Internet browser
  • ·      Different types of Blocks: Header, Footer, Nav (Navigation), Content
  • ·      Text or Content
  • ·      Charts, Graphs, Diagrams
  • ·      Labels and keys within charts, graphs, and diagrams
  • ·      Hyperlinks within a website
  • ·      Hyperlinks across websites
  • ·      The “About Us” page
  • ·      Date of last revision
  • ·      Images, audio, video, or other multimodal content
  • ·      “Completeness” or amount of information on a webpage or website
  • ·      Broken links or missing information

This list is of course not exhaustive…but it is a good start. The classroom teacher would conduct a “think aloud” of a search engine results page, or a webpage and share with their students the thinking pattern that they engage in as they read online.

The third technique would be to build in the skills identified by online reading comprehension and working through these activities with students. Online Reading Comprehension is defined as the skills, strategies, practices, and dispositions students need to question, locate, evaluate, synthesize, and communicate information during problem based inquiry tasks. In this task we would have teachers focus on the specific foundational skills that students need to read online.
In thinking through these skills, we would take a look at elements of a search engine results page that teachers can notice and name elements with their students.
website searchingWe would also look at examples from a webpage of information that students and teachers could work together to notice and name elements of the webpage and what information does that share with the reader.
Throughout this process the teacher would focus on the skills and strategies “good online readers” would use as they read online informational text. The following examples are a good starting point…but no means an exhaustive list that represent the complexity of knowledge, skills, and dispositions individuals use as they read online.
  • What good online readers know about asking questions:
    • I know what a really good question is
    • I know that revising the question, when I get new information, often makes it better
    • I know that I need to remember my question and not get distracted
  • What good online readers know about locating information:
    • I know how different search engines work
    • I know simple search strategies for making my search more specific
    • I know advanced search strategies and when they could be useful
  • What good online readers know about evaluating information:
    • Relevancy: I know when information meets my needs
    • Credibility: I know how to tell when information can be trusted
    • Stance: I am a “healthy skeptic” when it comes to online information
  • What good online readers know about synthesizing information:
    • I know how to construct the information I need as I read
    • I know which information to ignore
    • I know how to piece information together and make inferences when needed
    • I know when I have my answer
  • What good online readers know about communicating information:
    • I know how to use the tool I have selected
    • I know the discursive elements of the communication tool I’m using
    • I know how to construct a clear and unambiguous message so the recipient knows what I mean
Leu, D.J., Everett-Cacopardo, H., Zawilinski, L., McVerry, J. G., & O’Byrne, W.I. (2011). “New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension.” The Encyclopedia of AppliedLinguistics, ed. Chapelle, C.A.  Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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