Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Evaluating websites - Learning Technologies Course

    Many criteria should be taken into consideration while browsing the net. First of all, there are differences between the sites ( .com : commercial/ .gov: government/ .org: organisation/ etc..). As teachers, educationalists, the sites (.org) are of paramount importance. Nonetheless, we may log into .com sites and find they are so useful too. Hence, a good evaluation of the sites shall take into consideration these criteria: 
1-Accuracy and Acceptance
✓  Does the information appear to be accurate?
  Is it based on opinion or fact?
✓  Are additional references given?
  Can the information be verified from other sources, whether online or hard copy?
  Is the spelling and grammar correct?
   Is the content dated?
  When was the content last updated?
  Are all links up-to-date and valid?
  Are any areas of the site "under construction"? 
2-Authority and coverage
   Does the content have authority?
   Where does the content originate from?
   Is it clear who is the author and publisher of the site?
    Are they qualified to provide information on this topic?
   Is the material biased?
    Can the author be contacted?
    Where is the content published? What is the domain name of the website? Is it published by a large organisation, or on a personal website?
    Does the website cover the topic fully? 
    Does it provide links and references to other materials?
   If links to other materials are provided, are these evaluated or annotated to provide further information?
  Does the site contain any advertising? Does this influence the content? 
3-Audience and Relevance 
   Who is the intended audience for this content? 
   Is the content easy to read and understand?
   Is the site specifically aimed at children? If so, is the level and tone of the content appropriate?
   Is the site specifically aimed at adults? If so beware of inappropriate material. 
   Is the content relevant?
   Does the material provide everything that is needed?
   Could more relevant material be found elsewhere, for example in a book or magazine? 
4-Educational Focus 
     Is there an explicit educational focus to the content?
     Will it support learners with different learning styles? How does it use media to cater for people with auditory , visual, kinaesthetic or other preferences?
      Does it have links, or refer to, the appropriate stages of the National Curriculum or examination body? 
5-Ease of use:
      Is the site easy to sue?
      Is the site well structured?
      Is it easy to find relevant information?
      Is the content in an easy to use format?
     What facilities does the site provide to help locate information?
      Does it have a search facility? Is the menu navigation logical? Does it provide a site map or index?
      Does the site load quickly?
      Is the site attractive in design?
      Is the content copyright, or can it be used providing the source is acknowledged?
      Is the site technically stable?

Friday, December 21, 2012

My first prize! "Learning Technologies for the classroom" Training

    Not only has the internet  helped me  in my professional development as a teacher but shaped the way I connect with my colleagues . I have been very happy to win a prize (which consisted in a training about the Learning Technologies for the classroom ,in the British Council Tunis for three days from the 16th of December till the 18th of December ) after taking part in a webquest. 
Those three days were amongst the best moments in my life. I met many of my virtual friends and our friendship has become stronger. We worked together, exchanged ideas, and discussed many issues related to using technologies in the classroom.
I owe much to the staff of the British Council in Tunis, especially to our Great & highly professional trainer Philip Bashford , who helped us in many ways and proved to be a great trainer. We benefited much from  his tutoring. In fact, he continually developed new methods in order to help us (the participants) enhance our teaching. 
Personally, I do think these training courses do help teachers a lot on all levels! They are very profitable insomuch as teachers develop new skills, learn from each other, do estimate one's performances and look forward to interconnecting and collaborating. 
Below are some photos of the course we attended. Special thanks are to be credited to the British Council staff, mainly Philip Bashford for being a great trainer and facilitator of learning! I learned a lot from this course and I hope to share some of the amazing tips in the coming posts.