Thursday, March 16, 2006

Evaluating an Internet site

The use of Internet in ELT (English Language Teaching) has been increasing at an extraordinary speed. Among the many reasons* to use from the Internet in the language classroom, we could have:  

a) authentic reading-listening material  

b) different types of text genre 

C) communication and / or research projects 

d) Students' published work 

e) Language exercises 

One of the shortcomings of the Internet is the sea of sites it has dealing with ANY kind of topic. Some of them unsuitable for teaching or for our students to visit so we should be (extra) careful when choosing a web site to reinforce or recycle any given unit, module or lesson. I would suggest the following criteria to do so:  

A. Organization (lay-out & structure): it is related to the overall design and arrangement of the content of a web page ( page and type size, typeface, and the arrangement of titles and hyperlinks)  

B. Currency: It has to do with the frequency the web page is updated (Do links to remote sites work? Is the site easy to navigate?)  

C. Accessibility: It is related to the access you can have to the page (does it load quickly? Can you move around easily? Is the page always accessible when you get in?)  

D. Clarity: It has to do with the way information is presented (Can you read the information easily? Do graphics add to content or distract? Are there spelling mistakes or usage?)  

E. Appropriateness and relevance: It has to do with the content (Is the content appropriate for the lesson, module or unit?; Is it appropriate for the level/age of my students? is it relevant for the lesson /unit / module topic?  

I think it’s a good idea to use a format to learn how to evaluate Internet sites and it's also and excellent way of keeping track of EFL or Non-EFL sites to use in our web-based lessons. I suggest one taking into account the criteria mentioned above. Have a peek at the web site evaluation sheet. Comments are welcome!  

Sites related to this blog post:  

The Internet for English Teaching: Guidelines for Teachers  

Evaluating a website  

Evaluating Internet resources:  

* Taken from Franklyn Hinds's presentation ICT in ELT

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