John White’s video “Visitors and Residents: Credibility” addresses how students who are more ‘residents’ of the Social Web find their information. He asserts that the way they navigate the web and what they use it for is in conflict with traditional academia. One example White gives is asking whether John Locke’s ideas would have counted as a credible source if they had been Tweeted.
This example brings up a question that is vital to answer at this point in the development in the exchange of information. Courts are discussing Intellectual Property in relation to the internet, as well as leaking of confidential information. When it comes to information gathered for educational purposes, it seems the jury is still out. I have heard over and over teachers saying first “Don’t use Wikipedia” then, “Well, you can use Wikipedia to get a general idea, but you can’t cite it”. (I think this shift in stance came as a result of Wikipedia trying to raise their standards and take themselves more seriously.) Regardless, this is the moment to educate students on credible sources in general.
Would people have listened to John Locke if he had been sitting up in a tree yelling his opinions at the passersby (what I think the 1690’s version of “Tweeting” looked like) ? How do we judge if a source is biased, trustworthy, or accurate? I think since we have so much information available to us at this moment in time, it is critical to teach students how to wade through it all and find the truth.