Berritzegune Nagusia

Web Search Matters (I): Searching the Net

The Key Sculpture of Prague by Anthony Dodd

Sarritan uste izan ez arren, badira gazteek berezko ez dituzten trebetasun digitalak. Postak Interneta tajuz arakatzeko zenbait bilaketa motor, sekuentzia didaktiko eta orientabide batzen du.

Aunque no lo creamos, los jóvenes carecen de ciertas destrezas digitales. El post reúne motores de búsqueda, secuencias didácticas y pistas para mejorar las búsquedas en la red.

Indeed, there are a few of these matters (Searching the Net-I, Open Educational Resources-II, Reference & Plagiarism-III) which do matter. Searching the web is, no doubt, one of the most common tasks teachers and students perform on a daily basis. It is such an ordinary action that we take it for granted. We expect students to know how to search the web autoMAGICally but instead, they google a term, consistently ignore other search engines, choose the first item among a million and don’t acknowledge their sources.

As teachers, we should consider it an important part of our students’ digital literacy  and learning to learn skills (included in all the subjects of our curriculum) and try to build a plan to gradually introduce them to the proper use of the net by helping them with their search strategies: which search engines and meta-search engines should we use? How can we narrow our searches? How can we test the reliability of web sites?

Albeit Google is not God and it seems to have embraced the Dark Side of The Force, some of its Advanced Search options are brilliant. Among a myriad of features, its reading level option is worth highlighting. This classifies documents according to three levels: basic, intermediate and advanced. Its usage rights option which filters free-to-use-and-share images is also useful. (Watch out! When testing this one it’s been noticed that there are “all rights reserved” images among the free-to-use ones). And what about its Search by Image application? Google an image instead of a word, it works! You’ll need your Chrome to Search by Voice. Students could use this application not only as a means to search but also as a way to test whether their oral speech is understandable: if Google does, it must be. Get into the Playground and try our favourites: a Google a Day is a way to have fun and improve your students’ search abilities; they have to come up with the right keywords in order to get their answers to a quiz. Once they’ve done that, why not share their search thread with their peers by means of Search Stories Video Creator? Have a look at an example.

Google for Educators also includes ready-to-use classroom lessons and resources and clear posters with search tips or the possibility to customize and share a search engine according to your needs.

Neverthelss, one should commit oneself to using different search engines other than Google. Rather than getting lost in the endless list of tools to examine the web, Noodletools suggests a really helpful road planner or a quest to choose the right path.

A few nice lesson plans and tips have been stumbled upon which can help improve search habits. Have a look at this comprehensive list (with some dead-links) of Effective Internet Search tutorials by the Help Search Center. Just to set a few examples, use BBC’s WebWise or How to search for Internet resources by Internet 4 Classrooms to learn how to refine a query or the Forest Log scheme to help you generate the correct search term. The University of Southern Oregon gathered Tips to Effective Internet Searching (including the humble but effective ctrl+F). Bernie Dodge nicely contributed with his webquest Four Nets for Better Searching. Would you rather go visual? Commoncraft can help with its Web Search Strategies video. The Evaluating Websites PETC by Jennifer Carrier Dorman, Student Activity Sheet by Common Sense Media and the Five criteria for evaluating Web pages suggested by Cornell University are particularly useful in terms of assessing the reliability of a web page…

… the list is really endless. Pretty please, browse this Pearltree for more resources. You are more than welcome to team up and curate it.

Ibone Amorrortu

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