Digital Literacy- Critical Thinking

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Learning Outcome 

Students develop critical thinking skills in cyberspace

• Students understand that not all information that is available on the internet is accurate or relevant.
• Students learn how to ask critical questions so they can identify the information that meets their needs.

NetSafe Digital Citizenship Definition: demonstrates honesty and integrity and ethical behaviour in their use of ICT


Watch: The North American House Hippo video

And for older students, look at the Tree Octopus website

Discuss: Does this video/website give us useful information? What makes us think that the content on this website might not be reliable?

Some questions to discuss when you are looking at a website (or any source of information, really)

• Who has made this?
• When did they make it?
• Why did they make it?
• Does it answer my question?

For older students, here is a worksheet that looks at these questions more deeply. You will
need to work through these criteria with students the first few times.

Remember that although the title of this worksheet refers to hoaxes, content creators do
not always make it available as a joke. People and organisations can create biased content
to try and persuade people to buy things, to do things, or to believe in the things that they
themselves believe in.

Students could use some of these graphic organisers to keep track of the information as
they compare results from multiple sources to find similarities and differences, inaccuracies
and different perspectives.


Together, have a look at the Dog Island website and discuss this website and how reliable
you think it is. What is it about the website that makes you think again? Maybe have a look
to see if you can find any reviews from people who have sent their dogs there.

With younger students, find some remixed images, such as this, and discuss how easy it is to create altered images to tell an interesting story.


Why would someone put up information that isn’t correct?


Create your own mnemonic that helps you to remember how to assess the credibility of a
website. Make it into a song, a poem or a recipe…

Create a poster to hang near the places people do online research that reminds them about
checking the credibility of a website. Make sure it is in the library, classrooms, everywhere!


Create a list of some resources that you find that are reliable. Explain how you know that
you can trust these.


  • Dorothy Burt, Pt England School - CyberSmart Matrix
  • Esther Casey, National Library of New Zealand