Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Students know how to search - don't they?

Most students do know how to do a basic Google search, but most don't know how to refine their search so they receive the most relevant information.  Google has put together a new site appropriately called Google Search Education.  This site contains lesson plans focused on developing and improving students' web-search skills as well as video tutorials and activities for testing searching skills.

One activity is called the "Google A Day" challenge.  A day question is posted that requires students to practice their searching skills to find the correct answer.  The questions focus on a variety of content areas and would be a great opener activity for students to start the class hour.

The lesson plans are divided by the skill levels of the learners and provide a unit guiding question, lesson guiding questions and skills to accomplish.  The Lesson Plan Map page shows an overview of all the lessons and includes the Common Core and Technology Standards for the lessons.  The individual lessons are detailed with the above information as well as the resources/materials, time frame, notes to teachers, lesson details and assessment ideas.  The lessons were created in Google Doc and allow you to download them in various formats.  (Check out this sample lesson - Narrowing a search to get the best results)

So why do we really need to teach searching skills to students?  Well, the pat answer is that this skill is part of the Common Core Standards.  Any time the standards talk about media literacy and P21 Skills, web searching and evaluation is always a competent.  Of course, beyond the standard is the simple real-world application of searching for a job related project or personal information.  Learning advanced searching skills will provide more relevant results and save time.

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