The ability to search the internet effectively is an important — if not the most important — research skill for today’s students. Yet very few schools offer a way to learn how to search, even though students differ greatly in their ability to research online.
Now, thanks to Google, teachers have access to resources they can use to instruct their students on how to search correctly, find relevant information quickly and learn to distinguish between credible and non-credible sources.
Web search can be a remarkable tool for students, and a bit of instruction in how to search for academic sources will help your students become critical thinkers and independent learners.
With the materials on this site, you can help your students become skilled searchers- whether they’re just starting out with search, or ready for more advanced training.
Google calls this project Search Education, and on its website instructors can find lesson plans, in-class exercises and easy-to-use tools. The website offers a wide choice of lessons, including “Picking the Right Search Terms,” “Narrowing Search to Get Better Results,” and “Evaluating Credibility of Sources.”
Those who wish to delve a little deeper into the topic can use the Power Searching section of the website. There, Google offers tips and tricks for more advanced users broken down into two two-week courses: “Power Searching,” and “Advanced Power Searching.”
In an effort to improve the searching prowess of their users, Google offers a Google a Day Challenge, which is a broad question that requires a number of targeted searches to answer. Often, answering also requires using a number of Google services, including image search and Google translate.
Examples of Google Daily Challenges include:
One of the most famous photos of the 20th century was taken at a memorial service for victims of La Coubre. On the original print, what’s stamped in the lower left corner?
The column style used for this Greek temple completed in 438 BCE was borrowed from which ancient civilization?
The three-lobed leaves of a tall tree are powdered and used in a traditional New Orleans dish, and the bark is the traditional flavoring for a soft drink. What drink is it?
The website also offers live training webinars covering all topics dealing with search and the use of other parts of Google’s website. The webinar front page features the recording of the most recent training session, and also hosts a comprehensive webinar archive.
Google makes it simple to find the information you need, but there are strategies for finding higher quality sources even more easily. Learn the basics of predictive search, a method for drawing on what you know about what you need to find it faster, including successful word choice and using the filters on the left-hand side of the screen to uncover information you never dreamed was possible.