“Crap Detection 101”

Net Smart, written by Howard Rheingold, provides an interesting outlook at the concept of fact checking sources you find online, or what he refers to as “crap detection”. For me, I have always known that there are many sources you can find online that are not backed up by facts, but rather someone choosing to write something simply because we live in a world where anyone can use digital literacy to create things on an online source.


“Don’t refuse to believe; refuse to start out believing. Continue to pursue your investigation after you find an answer. Chase the story rather than just accepting the first evidence you encounter (Rheingold).” This quote stuck with me after reading chapter 2 in his book because it reminded me of the point in which I had already been taught but still seem to forget every now and again. If you are choosing to use digital literacy as a learning tool you must remember the responsibly that comes with that. We cannot assume that all we find online is factual and true, rather we must learn how to “crap detect” and continue to pursue the truth once we have already found evidence online.

Rheingold, H. (2012). Net smart: how to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


2 thoughts on ““Crap Detection 101”

  1. vronvz says:

    This is such an important skill to bring into classrooms right now! Students don’t have the knowledge of how to sift through information and identify what’s best. We need to teach them those skills so they can utilize them in their own pursuit of knowledge. Were you taught these skills when you were in school? I don’t remember learning about things like website credibility and feel more or less uninformed about it myself!


  2. janevangalen says:

    I consider critical evaluation of central to digital literacy. There are digital tools, and then there are the ways to use them critically and creatively — that’s the literacy part. Anyone can create accounts, just like anyone can write words on paper, and being literate digitally or conventionally always brings forth the best of critical thinking. At least that’s my hope!


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