Locate, Evaluate, and Curate Information

This post addresses ISTE student Standard 3 Knowledge Constructor which requires students to critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others. My question is:

How can teachers and teacher-librarians help students efficiently locate, evaluate and curate credible and substantive artifacts to use and share?

What is the quickest and easiest way to find information on anything? I use Google search almost every day, and I know my students use Google as well. There are some Bing outliers, but we mostly Google, don’t we?

Use Google to Locate Information

Google (the search engine) and I have had a fairly long and generally happy relationship. Since 1998, I have asked Google just about everything I have ever wanted to know about. If I’m googling something it is because I want quick results; a starting point for further research. Google has grown into a sophisticated font of knowledge. Even when my questions are simplistic, Google picks up the gist of what I need and offers a selection of suitable responses. 

What criteria can students use to efficiently find the BEST results? Google has the answer. Google Search Education has lesson plans based on Common Core Standards for information literacy. The lessons are detailed and graduated: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Lesson topics are:

  • Picking the right search terms
  • Understanding search results
  • Narrowing a search for better results
  • Searching for evidence for research tasks
  • Evaluating credibility of sources.

Although the news items presented in the lesson plans are dated, the method of analyzing and discerning information is not. I read through the lesson plan for recognizing bias and found many interesting ideas to use in class, including an article written by Megan McArdle titled Anatomy of a Fake Quotation, which follows the devolution of a quotation. The lesson calls for students to use the Jigsaw method to answer and reflect on the following questions:

  • How do misquotes evolve?
  • What can I do to verify the accuracy of a quote or image?
  • What’s an indication of misquoting or falsifying images?
  • What can trigger doubt that a quote or image might be inaccurate?
  • What sites should be avoided or used to verify credibility?

Use CRAAPO to Evaluate Information

According to a Pew Poll from 2012, yes a long time ago, but the information is still relevant today, teachers acknowledged that the most important skill students need to be successful in their future life is the ability to judge the quality of information.

The ability to evaluate information found on the internet is becoming vital as information abounds and disseminates so quickly. Students are at risk of becoming passive consumers of information unless teachers provide opportunities to practice discernment when researching online. Having an evaluation rubric to practice checking the source and veracity of information is helpful. The 30-second video below highlights the questions of the C.R.A.A.P. test created by Sarah Blakeslee in 2004. With permission from the author, SNHU added the ‘O’ for objectivity.


Information from SNHU adapted and created by Jan White

An alternative to the CRAAP test is SIFT, four moves to verify online information. Mike Caufield suggests that SIFT gets students to act on information rather than think about information:

S – Stop
I – Investigate the source
F – Find better coverage
T- Trace claims, Quotes, and media to their original context

Use the Smithsonian Learning Lab to Curate Information

The Smithsonian Learning Lab has over 2 million authentic Smithsonian digital resources (artifacts, images, texts, videos, and more) available for students and teachers to peruse and use. They offer a free online resource for teachers and students to collect, collate and share resources. Users can also adapt collections created by others.

Slide 1

* digital images
* recordings
* texts
* videos

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Although students can only collect and share sources from the Smithsonian, I think their platform offers students the opportunity to practice the art of collating. If you are interested in using the Learning Lab, their Help Page has a guide for teachers and students to get started.

I have offered three methods to locate, evaluate and curate information based on the ISTE student standards:
3a. Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
3b. Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility, and relevance of information, media, data, or other resources.
3c. Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
Let me know which apps or platforms your students use.


Caulfield, M. (2019, December 17). A Short History of CRAAP. Retrieved from https://hapgood.us/2018/09/14/a-short-history-of-craap/

CyberWise Information Literacy Hub: Learn Find, Retrieve, and Analyze. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2020, from https://www.cyberwise.org/information-literacy-hub

Help and Support Smithsonian Learning Lab: Educational Website. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2020, from https://learninglab.si.edu/help/

ISTE Standards for Students. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students

Mike Caulfield Smart Talk. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2020, from https://www.projectinfolit.org/mike-caulfield-smart-talk.html

Nast, P. (n.d.). Smithsonian Learning Lab. Retrieved June 21, 2020, from http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/71314.htm

Stephens, W. (n.d.). How to Teach Internet Research Skills. Retrieved June 21, 2020, from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=how-to-teach-internet-research-skills