Just google it …

google stuff

Just google it … how many times have I heard that, and how true. We all do it, and we all trust it. Today’s presentation by Chris Betcher made me take a step back and think. Not just about what information I search for, and the results I get. But I also realized that I have a long way to go in learning how to search effectively. I punch in the keywords, hit search, and check out the first few hits before I move on. Well, at least I know that I am not alone in this.

I will start by throwing out a bunch of ideas I got from today’s discussion with Chris. What an interesting, practical and important presentation on internet usage, both from a teacher & student perspective.

To begin, Chris talked bout education moving away from being content driven .. content is easy to find, the thinking part is the challenge. We no longer need to provide students with all of the knowledge they need. In today’ world, opening a textbook to read Pg. 10-25 doesn’t cut it. We now unleash them to jump online, allowing them access to the latest news, research, and sources of information. Unfortunately, in most cases they do not have the skills to sift through the vast array of “hits” that are possible when you type in a just a few key words. Many get lost, discouraged, or frustrated within 5 minutes of jumping online. They are required to think about which sources are best suited for their purpose, and which are trustworthy.

We, as teachers, must begin to model our own editorial skills — how we locate and discern good information and good partners” – Will Richardson World Without Walls

To access a website, we need to use a search engine. Google, of course, comes to mind first. There are plenty of other options, but we google it usually. Check out these tutorials for hints and guidance to proper “surfing” technique.

How to search (basic)

How to search (advanced)

How to search slideshow

Another useful link for searching

Chris also talked about what to do once you have conducted the initial stages of searching for information. OK, you have a whole bunch of hits in front of you. Which ones are useful, and more importantly, which are trustworthy? He talks about:

5 Factors for Evaluating a Website:

Authority -who is responsible for producing/publishing the site

– .com –>business/private

– .org –> more official stuff?

– .edu –> need to be an educational resource to use this ending

Red Flag – can’t find a contact link or name to get in touch with people behind the site

Currency – how current is the site .. look for a publishing date or when it was updated

Content/Purpose – ask yourself why the site is even there …

Audience – who is it aimed at … does it suit the purpose of the site … target audience

Structure/Workability – is it easy to use & can you find the info you need

When you factor all of these into your search, your results should be more dependable.

We also discussed the effectiveness of “Wikipedia” as a source of information. This is always open for debate, but when you think about it, it is a source. Not necessarily a primary source, but a source. A couple of quotes from the discussion really sum it up nicely. Thank you to whoever shared them.

“a page written by many has more authority than a page written by one”

“Wikipedia – Use it first but not last (I don’t know who said it, but I like it)”

Finally, technical fears … for example – You Tube. I always cringe when my students visit this site, thinking of what they can come across if things aren’t filtered. And really, I don’t know if things are filtered at all. I visit the site once in a while to check out TV shows, sports hi-lites and music videos. But I know what can be found there, and find myself a but nervous when students are accessing it during research. I will have to slowly open the doors to this option, and learn to involve it in my daily classroom environment. Obviously, it is a great source of information.

Other Assorted Tools: provided by Chris (& Google)

You Tube vid

Evaluating a website

Thanks to CheckItOutOneTime by

A lot to cover, and a lot to learn. But what a great opportunity for learning. Google it. I will, and I will get better at it.

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~ by yamaguru on February 8, 2009.

2 Responses to “Just google it …”

  1. For the extension- .com, org, net, ect you cannot tell for sure if this means anything for the credibility of the site.

    compare http://www.whitehouse.gov, and http://www.whitehouse.org for an example

    Here is a link to a clear and short explanation.

    http://www.tammypayton.net/courses/search/credible2.shtml

    “Historically, if you found information on a .org, .com, or .net site, you knew that .org meant the site was published by a non-profit organization, .com meant that the site was published for commercial purposes, and .net meant that the site was published by a network. But those descriptive names have become blurred with one another.

    However, .gov and .edu names still remain constant in identifying the kind of site. When you see .edu you know that this is an educational institution while the following sites are published by governments: .gov is United States government, .ca is Canadian government, .jp is Japanese government, etc.”

  2. Thanks John … that clears it up a bit. And the link is a useful one. Maybe I will share it with my class of Grade 5s, with a few explanations along the way.

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