As digital natives, today’s students have more knowledge at their fingertips than any previous generation. And yet they often struggle to assess the reliability of online information and to know what elements are included in information literacy.
Being able to critically evaluate statements, provide solid evidence for arguments, and present information logically are all skills that students need to master for both academic success and personal development. Providing students with the crucial critical thinking skills to help them navigate this information-rich age is an essential task of 21st-century educators — and something we are very passionate about here at Kialo Edu!
As such, we’ve outlined some activities to teach information literacy on Kialo Edu.
Guide students to think critically with Kialo Edu
Kialo Edu is designed to promote critical thinking, one of the cornerstones of information literacy. The structure of discussion on Kialo Edu encourages students to analyze the connections between different elements of a debate. You can help them to identify weak lines of argumentation and statements which require clarification, modeling the critical approach that they can apply to other kinds of media.
You can also get students to critically assess all claims in a discussion by voting. This asks students to evaluate the impact of each claim, a measure which combines both how convincing they find the argument presented, and how relevant it is to the claim above it. Once students have voted, you can view the overall results using Perspectives and discuss them with the class.
This kind of meta-discussion about what statements are most convincing is the perfect opportunity to interrogate the reasons why we find some information credible and others not, and whether confirmation bias has any part to play in these evaluations.
Practice providing evidence for statements on Kialo Edu
It’s important that students learn both when they need to provide evidence for statements, and what kind of sources of information are reliable to use. These activities are great opportunities for students to hone their media literacy skills so it becomes second nature.
1. Have students identify the need for evidence
For students just learning about argumentative writing, guide them towards identifying the kinds of claims that require evidence. In a Kialo Edu discussion, add some verifiable claims — either true or false — alongside some purely subjective or speculative ones. Have students discuss in the comments of the claims whether or not each one needs to be backed up with evidence.
If students are familiar with which kinds of statements need to be backed up with evidence, have them build out a discussion with their own arguments first. Since you want students to add a lot of claims, this might work best with one of our icebreaker templates, such as whether cats or dogs make the better pets. Then, have them read through each other’s claims and identify which ones need to be backed up with evidence!
2. Have students identify reliable sources
The capacity to discern credible sources amid the deluge of information online is one of the most vital skills that students can acquire through information literacy.
Once you have taught students how to identify legitimate sources, put their skills to the test in a Kialo Edu discussion. You can start by adding your own sources to claims, and have students play detective to try to find out which are reliable!
When they’re ready to progress, have students provide sources to their own claims. If you’d like to check their sources before accepting them, give students the Suggester role. You can also have them fact-check each other’s sources, using the criteria you’ve already practiced. If you’re focusing on lateral reading to evaluate sources, have them “show their work” in the comments of a claim by explaining how they decided that the source used was a legitimate one
Streamline synthesizing and presenting information on Kialo Edu
Synthesizing and presenting information is also an important ability for information literate students to conquer — here are some ideas for how you can practice this using Kialo Edu.
1. Using Kialo Edu as an essay planner or essay alternative
Although Kialo Edu is primarily used as a platform for discussion or debate between multiple participants, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way you can use it!
Students can use Kialo Edu to plan essays before writing, using the treelike structure to help them to organize their thoughts logically. They can start with a thesis and build supporting claims while engaging with potential criticisms.
You can easily check these essay outlines and add individualized feedback directly on each claim. If you are using peer feedback in your class, students can comment on or chat with each other directly in the discussion.
You can also use a Kialo Edu discussion as an alternative to an argumentative essay in cases when you want to focus on critical thinking and research skills. Students can complete this kind of assignment much quicker than a traditional full essay, so you can really concentrate on the key skills of presenting an argument and backing it up with evidence. Plus, you can be confident that you’re not assessing the output of an AI chatbot!
2. Synthesizing a Kialo Edu Discussion in presentation or essay form
If you’ve had a successful Kialo Edu discussion with your students, you can use it as the basis for an activity where students create some kind of output. This could take the form of a class presentation, a written summary, or even a video essay!
Having students synthesize, evaluate, and represent the information in a Kialo Edu discussion is a useful higher-order practice. It’s also a great opportunity to compare the differences in their representations!
Hold a Kialo Edu discussion on an issue central to information literacy
Kialo Edu is also the perfect platform to hold class debates on issues central to information, media, and news literacy. Browse our ever-expanding template collection where you’ll find starter discussions on topics such as whether social media is a threat to democracy, whether the traditional news media helps or hinders public understanding, or whether the internet is really a benefit to society. If your class has a particular focus, create your own discussion and get students debating!
We hope you found these tips on using Kialo Edu to teach information literacy useful, and now consider us a reliable source! If you have any questions, comments, or clarifications, we’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch on directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or any of our social media platforms!