Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Search Strategies for Classroom or Home - Part 2

Continued from: Search Strategies for Classroom or Home - Part 1

Step 5. If you feel comfortable as an Internet sleuth, move on to discover how to evaluate web sites.

The University of California, Berkeley has an exercise in evaluating web sites. Essentially a WebQuest on evaluating sites, this activity is used to show UC Berkeley students why it is important to evaluate the source of information on the web. Try the activity yourself.

Step 6. Teach your students to think as they search the Internet.

Alan November asks, "Is your high school teaching students to access the Internet for research?" If so, he points out that "it is essential that students also learn how to validate the information. The Internet is a place where you can find 'proof" of essentially any belief system that you can imagine. And, for too many students, 'If it is on the Internet, it is true.' " Read his entire article, titled Teaching Zach to Think [Note: this link opens on a new page]. Alan wrote this for the September 1998 issue of High School Principal Magazine.

Step 7. Learn to use Boolean Logic in your searching

"Boolean searching is named after George Boole, a British mathematician (1815-1864), who wrote about logical ways to formulate precise queries using true-false connectors or "operators" between concepts. The true-false nature of Boolean logic, as this system is commonly called, makes it compatible with binary logic used in digital computers. It has become the conventional basis for searching most computerized systems." Quoted from Joe Barker (jbarker@library.berkeley.edu) from “Best Stuff on the Web” – Copyright 2002 The Teaching Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA. See a two-page .pdf document about using the primary operators.

Step 8. Use four Nets for better searching

Dr. Bernie Dodge, co-developer of the WebQuest concept, suggests using NETS as an acronym for remembering a way to improve your search results. The NETS acronym comes from his suggestion to: "start narrow, use exact phrases, trim the URL, and seek similar pages." For a more complete explanation of this suggestion, see his page posted on the San Diego State University domain.

For more information regarding searching the Internet - click on http://www.internet4classrooms.com/search.htm

Search Strategies For Classroom or Home - Part 1

Step 1. Choose a few search engines, and learn how they work

Find 3 - 4 search engines that you are comfortable using and do most of your searches with them. This tutorial will use Clusty, which sends search queries to several search engines and then clusters the results. I have found that Clusty consistently gives me good results. If you wish to use a different search engine check out this list. There is also a list of Kid Safe Search Engines.

Tip: Do not search with the button. Go to a search engine's homepage, not where the browser sends you.

Step 2. Searching for pictures

Ditto calls itself the premier visual search engine. If you are searching for an image, you will probably find it here. Several search engines offer graphics search capability. In the list above they are identified by the camera icon - (Caution: Image search pages on search engines are blocked by many state filters.)
Internet4Classrooms.com has a collection of graphics links with a section on picture collections found on the Internet.

Step 3. Search for sounds on the Internet

FindSounds.com is a search engine for finding sound effects on the Web. Search the Web for sound effects and sample sounds. Take a look at the types of sounds you can find. This is a partial list. Many more sounds are available. You may also find a large number of sound files of all types at Partners in Rhyme.

Step 4. Let the purpose of your search determine the search engine to be used.

Take a look at the list provided by Debbie Abilock titled "Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need." For example, you might "have a broad academic subject and need pointers to quality sites." If so, Debbie suggests that you go to Librarians' Index to the Internet or Infomine. On the other hand, if you need to see relationships among ideas, she suggests that you use KartOO or Web Brain. This is a great site, check it out!

For more information regarding searching the Internet - click on http://www.internet4classrooms.com/search.htm

Welcome to Internet4Classrooms

Over a decade ago (February, 1997) Susan Brooks and Bill Byles began a collaborative effort to extend assistance to fellow teachers. In November of 2000 that project expanded to the web as Internet4Classrooms.com (i4c). The web portal which we call I4C is free to anyone who wants to find high-quality, free Internet educational resources to use in the classroom or at home. Our resources are organized by grade, by subject area, by technology, by educational standard, and the list goes on. The portal is used by people on six of the seven continents (there are not many classrooms in Antarctica) and is available to anyone with an Internet connection. To find out more about Susan and Bill, please go to our short bios.
To stay current in a now Web 2.0 world, over the coming months we are embarking on new ways to share what we have learned with teachers, parents, students and anyone who would benefit from the information that we have gathered over the years.

Stay tuned as we embark on our new site re-design, social networking feeds, blogging, Twitter, newsletters, and so much more!