CWR

Critical Analysis of Online Sources with the Critical Web Reader (CWR)

What is Critical Web Reader? (5:08)

  • Nurtures students’ inquiry and critical thinking skills through the practice of more deliberate and disciplined ways of thinking

  • Enables students to make sense of the proliferation of online sources, discerning misinformation and useless information from credible and useful information

  • Empowers students to think critically about online information and make well-informed conclusions

Well into the information age, we have access to colossal amounts of multimodal information in the online space. Often as we skim through online information, clicking on link after link, we rarely take the time to pause and gather our thoughts, to critically analyse the information that we see.

Guided only by our intuitions, emotions, or biases we engage in what Kahneman (2011) calls fast thinking instead of slow thinking, that which is careful, critical, deliberate and disciplined.

In the context of classroom teaching and learning, imagine if standards and models for thinking could be nurtured in our students? This is exactly what the Critical Web Reader has to offer.


The CWR enables students to:


  • evaluate any web page

  • discern credible, accurate info

  • better understand complex texts

  • develop literacy and thinking skills

  • enrich subject matter learning

  • monitor and direct their own learning


It enables teachers to:


  • integrate Internet in classrooms
  • organise & manage instruction
  • scaffold student learning
  • assess student work
  • share resources with colleagues

The Critical Web Reader web-based tool is an interactive learning frame that facilitates the use of real-world online material as a teaching resource.


Customising and managing CWR activities


Using the CWR web-based tool, teachers create customised CWR activities that frame the way students read and evaluate teacher-selected information on the Internet. Within the CWR is a teacher dashboard that helps teachers manage classes, activities and CWR lenses. The dashboard also facilitates easy sharing of CWR activities with other teachers in the CWR community.


CWR lenses


CWR lenses are learning scaffolds for teachers to shape CWR activities. A lens includes guiding questions, tips, and suggestions.


Teachers have the option of selecting standard lenses or customized lenses either self-created or created by peers in the CWR community (see Image 1: Standard and Customised Lenses). The lenses allow teachers to address critical reading skills and analysis skills, as well as develop literacy skills and conceptual understanding in their students.



how-teachers-get-started Image 1: Standard and Customised Lenses

In the “Reader notes” section, students can input their responses to document and make their thinking visible. Through the CWR lenses, students work individually, in pairs, or in groups on activities in class or remotely from home.


Because of its versatility, CWR can be integrated into classroom activities and be used in a range of subject areas, such as Language Arts, Social Studies, Math or Science etc.

Question-Icon
How did students respond?
  • Students were motivated and engaged by the use of technology in CWR. They were observed to be more self-directed, autonomous, and resourceful in the online learning environment.

  • Students needed more guidance in the understanding of key ideas or concepts that were central to successful target skill development. To illustrate, while students were aware of factors used to evaluate sources, they were less able to weigh and use these factors to assess sources.

  • More literacy scaffolding is necessary as students struggled to assess text due to inadequacies in comprehension skills and their limited background knowledge.

Question-Icon
How did teachers respond?
  • Teachers selected increasingly complex online sources over time.
  • Teachers’ skills at designing CWR scaffolds for students to evaluate and analyse sources improved as well.
  • Teachers used CWR for procedural scaffolding (a typical approach used in Singapore classrooms) of source-based skills.
  • If you are interested to use CWR with your students, contact Principal Investigator Dr Mark Baildon.

  • To learn more about CWR, view the CWR Tutorials!

Question-Icon
Research team

To learn more about CWR, please contact the Principal Investigator A/P Mark Baildon at mark.baildon@nie.edu.sg.



    Principal Investigator
  • A/P Mark Baildon, Humanities & Social Studies Education (HSSE), NIE

    Key Collaborator

  • A/P James Damico, Indiana University Bloomington

    Co-Principal Investigator
  • A/P Teo Beng Chong, Office of Education Research, NIE

    Collaborator

  • Dr Suhaimi Afandi, HSSE, NIE
Research led by
Author
Principal Investigator
A/P Mark Baildon, NIE
Author
Co-Principal Investigator
A/P Teo Beng Chong, NIE
Collaborator:

Dr Suhaimi Afandi, HSSE, NIE

To learn more about CWR, email: mark.baildon@nie.edu.sg

M-ProSE was funded by the Education Research Funding Programme, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (project no. OER 32/08 TTL & OER 22/12 TTL).

This knowledge resource was written by Tan Minying, Bernadine W. Sengalrayan and Tan Giam Hwee.

What teachers & students say

“Students can respond instantly and this ICT tool is timely help for our teaching strategies to include ICT in our lessons.”

- Teacher


“The CWR allows teachers to monitor the progress of individual students. The function that allows teachers to comment on students’ work is a plus point.”

- Teacher


“The interface (activity page, etc.) is very user-friendly… It is a ‘one stop’ tool for teaching of source-based question(s).”

- SH Social Studies
Phase of education

Secondary school

Academic eubject

Social Studies

Participants

300 students (approx.)

10 teachers

5 secondary schools

Topics

Contents

Research led by
Author
Principal Investigator
A/P Mark Baildon, NIE
Author
Collaborator
A/P James Damico, Indiana University Bloomington
Author
Co-Principal Investigator
A/P Teo Beng Chong, NIE
Collaborator:

Dr Suhaimi Afandi, HSSE, NIE

To learn more about CWR, email: mark.baildon@nie.edu.sg

CWR

Critical Analysis of Online Sources with the Critical Web Reader (CWR)

Question-Icon
How CWR can help your students
  • Nurtures students’ inquiry and critical thinking skills through the practice of more deliberate and disciplined ways of thinking
  • Enables students to make sense of the proliferation of online sources, discerning misinformation and useless information from credible and useful information
  • Empowers students to think critically about online information and make well-informed conclusions
Question-Icon
Why CWR?

Well into the information age, we have access to colossal amounts of multimodal information in the online space. Often as we skim through online information, clicking on link after link, we rarely take the time to pause and gather our thoughts, to critically analyse the information that we see.

Guided only by our intuitions, emotions, or biases we engage in what Kahneman (2011) calls fast thinking instead of slow thinking, that which is careful, critical, deliberate and disciplined.

In the context of classroom teaching and learning, imagine if standards and models for thinking could be nurtured in our students? This is exactly what the Critical Web Reader has to offer.


The CWR enables students to:


  • evaluate any web page
  • discern credible, accurate info
  • better understand complex texts
  • develop literacy and thinking skills
  • enrich subject matter learning
  • monitor and direct their own learning

It enables teachers to:


  • integrate Internet in classrooms
  • organise & manage instruction
  • scaffold student learning
  • assess student work
  • share resources with colleagues
Question-Icon
How does CWR work?

The Critical Web Reader web-based tool is an interactive learning frame that facilitates the use of real-world online material as a teaching resource.


Customising and managing CWR activities


Using the CWR web-based tool, teachers create customised CWR activities that frame the way students read and evaluate teacher-selected information on the Internet. Within the CWR is a teacher dashboard that helps teachers manage classes, activities and CWR lenses. The dashboard also facilitates easy sharing of CWR activities with other teachers in the CWR community.


CWR lenses


CWR lenses are learning scaffolds for teachers to shape CWR activities. A lens includes guiding questions, tips, and suggestions.


Teachers have the option of selecting standard lenses or customized lenses either self-created or created by peers in the CWR community (see Image 1: Standard and Customised Lenses). The lenses allow teachers to address critical reading skills and analysis skills, as well as develop literacy skills and conceptual understanding in their students.



how-teachers-get-started Image 1: Standard and Customised Lenses

In the “Reader notes” section, students can input their responses to document and make their thinking visible. Through the CWR lenses, students work individually, in pairs, or in groups on activities in class or remotely from home.


Because of its versatility, CWR can be integrated into classroom activities and be used in a range of subject areas, such as Language Arts, Social Studies, Math or Science etc.

Evidence from CWR research
Question-Icon
How did students respond?
  • Students were motivated and engaged by the use of technology in CWR. They were observed to be more self-directed, autonomous, and resourceful in the online learning environment.
  • Students needed more guidance in the understanding of key ideas or concepts that were central to successful target skill development. To illustrate, while students were aware of factors used to evaluate sources, they were less able to weigh and use these factors to assess sources.
  • More literacy scaffolding is necessary as students struggled to assess text due to inadequacies in comprehension skills and their limited background knowledge.
Question-Icon
How did teachers respond?
  • Teachers selected increasingly complex online sources over time.
  • Teachers’ skills at designing CWR scaffolds for students to evaluate and analyse sources improved as well.
  • Teachers used CWR for procedural scaffolding (a typical approach used in Singapore classrooms) of source-based skills.
Question-Icon
How can teachers get started?
  • If you are interested to use CWR with your students, contact Principal Investigator Dr Mark Baildon.
  • To learn more about CWR, view the CWR Tutorials!
Question-Icon
Related links
Question-Icon
Research team

To learn more about CWR, please contact the Principal Investigator A/P Mark Baildon at: mark.baildon@nie.edu.sg.



    Principal Investigator
  • A/P Mark Baildon, Humanities & Social Studies Education (HSSE), NIE
    Key Collaborator

  • A/P James Damico, Indiana University Bloomington
    Co-Principal Investigator
  • A/P Teo Beng Chong, Office of Education Research, NIE
    Collaborator

  • Dr Suhaimi Afandi, HSSE, NIE

This research on Critical Web Reader was funded by Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) under the Education Research Funding Programme (OER 32/08 TTL & OER 22/12 TTL), Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) under the eduLab Programme (NRF2015-EDU001-IHL08) and administered by National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Singapore MOE, Singapore NRF and NIE.

This knowledge resource was written by Tan Giam Hwee.

What is Critical Web Reader? (5:08)

What teachers & students say

“Students can respond instantly and this ICT tool is timely help for our teaching strategies to include ICT in our lessons.”

- Teacher


“The CWR allows teachers to monitor the progress of individual students. The function that allows teachers to comment on students’ work is a plus point.”

- Teacher


“The interface (activity page, etc.) is very user-friendly…. It is a ‘one stop’ tool for teaching of source-based question(s).”

- SH Social Studies
Phase of education

Secondary school

Academic subject

Social Studies

Participants

300 students (approx.)

10 teachers

5 secondary schools

Topics

Social Studies, Humanities, 21st Century Competencies