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Information Fluency Project


Information Fluency Project

What's the DIF? Digital Information Fluency that is? This group is dedicated to the proposition that part of the mission is to teach 21st Century Information Fluency Skills to each other and our students. (Let's share ideas and energy!)

Members: 224
Latest Activity: Apr 5, 2015

Information Fluency: New Connections for a New Year!

Information Fluency: Getting Ready for a New Year!

Carl Heine writes the Internet Search Challenge blog.

Dennis O'Connor writes the The Keyword blog

Diigo Social Bookmarking: Information Fluency Group

New!  Give us a Like? Information Fluency Page on Facebook

New! Information Fluency Digital Magazine

For Email Marketing you can trust

Discussion Forum

Tutorial & Game: Checking the Accuracy of a Website 4 Replies

Started by Dennis O'Connor. Last reply by Dennis O'Connor Oct 26, 2012.

Information Investigator 3.1: Apply now for a free preview!

Started by Dennis O'Connor Aug 31, 2011.

Publish Your Best Practice

Started by Carl Heine Feb 4, 2010.

Diigo Social Bookmarking: New Bookmark Sharing Group

Started by Dennis O'Connor Dec 28, 2008.

Paraphrased or Plagiarised? Beta Testers Needed 12 Replies

Started by Dennis O'Connor. Last reply by Carl Heine Nov 12, 2008.

Internet Search Challenge

Covid19 spam and worse

Thanks to online statistics, there is a measure of online traffic for which information fluency is a protective filter:

"Since the start of the year there have been over 300 thousand unique online threats detected which attempt to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis and our desire for information on, and an end to, the pandemic." Source
You are encouraged to visit to see the numbers for yourself:

The most targeted countries are, in this order: United Kingdom, France, United States and Italy. The UK is targeted almost twice as much as France.

If you live in one of the affected areas, think twice about what arrives in your email and other online media.

Check the author/publisher. Fact check claims. Don't be a victim.

Twitter fooled by Fake Candidate

A few election cycles ago, there was the story of Susie Flynn running for President. It was a hoax published by a media company to attract attention. It made for a pretty good fact checking evaluation challenge. Here's an archived reminder of the story.

In today's news is a story about a 17-year old who fabricated a Senate candidate named Andrew Walz and managed to get Twitter to verify the fake as legitimate.  Here's some of the story from CNN:
"Earlier this month, Walz's account received a coveted blue check mark from Twitter as part of the company's broader push to verify the authenticity of many Senate, House and gubernatorial candidates currently running for office. Twitter has framed this effort as key to helping Americans find reliable information about politicians in the lead up to the 2020 election."
Not until the 17-year old's parents came forward with the story did anyone notice the problem.

One takeaway is that if a bored teen can exploit Twitter's election integrity efforts, what else is that publisher missing?

We are foolish if we allow others to think for us, assuring us what to believe, what to trust. There is really no substitute for honing our skills and taking time to do our own vetting.

The story of Andrew Walz is another wake up call to practice fact checking.  What details in Andrew Walz's campaign can't be verified? Post your answers below.

More on fact checking here.

Find the Author's Name

Tracking down an author's name online can be a tough assignment.

Let's say you want to reference a story about Polly the Polar Bear that you find here.

Who is the author? For this challenge, find the author's first and last name. It CAN be done, although it requires strategy and persistence.

Try the Challenge

If you give up, click the link to the Author Tutorials in the challenge.

Elementary Workshop Refreshed

Especially for those who teach younger students, the Elementary Workshop is a user-guided resource that may be used to introduce and reinforce concepts and skills in information fluency in the elementary grades.

An assortment of hands-on learning activities and games, with and without computers, is included in the workshop:

Speculative Searching

Investigative Searching

Citing the Source

There's enough material to insert into mini-lessons throughout the school year. Check it out here:

What can't Google do for you?

We already know Google is wildly popular, the go-to search engine for most students and a disruptive innovator in search technology.

But it can't do everything.

There are many times a non-trivial question arises and Google is not the right tool. It's fine for most easy searches, but when the information needed is more complex or you can't think of the right keywords to use, Google hits a wall.

At times like these, having information fluency skills is essential. Searching may require a different, specialized search engine. Knowing how to learn to use an unfamiliar search engine is highly important. So are investigative skills to check out questionable news. Google is not your one stop shop for all that.

Finding specialized research articles is one example. The first of the three free Internet Search Challenges is one of those.

If you have your own example of a time when Google was not the answer, feel free to share it here.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Information Fluency Project to add comments!

Comment by Dennis O'Connor on October 18, 2009 at 2:38pm
It ain't easy being green....

Finding Kermit was the inspiration for one of the first Internet Search Challenges created by Dr. Carl Heine.  The task is to track down a picture of Kermit ready for graduation in the least amount of time. 

Many teachers use this as a whole class lab activity.  Put up a search challenge and then it's off the races!  This game is live, just click Google to start the timer.

This activity has been available online for years along with nearly 100 other Information Literacy Games at

For news of the latest Search Challenges subscribe to Carl Heine's  Internet Search Challenge Blog!
Comment by Dennis O'Connor on August 14, 2009 at 1:46am

Website Investigation 2010.

1000 7-12 graders at Northwestern's Center for Talent Development took this self-paced course this summer!

We got great results! Open for guest viewing.

Produced by the 21st Century Information Fluency Project @
Comment by karenklieg on June 11, 2009 at 5:46am
Hi Dennis,
Looking at your blog as I am working on our wiki for our Librarian Web 2.0 Smackdown at NECC. Hope you'll stop by! Joyce Valenza, CathyJo Nelson, Keisa Williams, Wendy Stephens and I will be running it.

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