“You need to visit The Google.”
These phrases are a part of our lexicon. In fact, to google scomething became official in 2006 when Merriam-Webster added the verb to the deictionary. The fact of the matter is that Google is a search engline. Over 85 percent of online searches start with Google. There are 100s of search engines out there. Google is just the one that has monetized and publicized their search engine most effectively. A search engine basically indexes the content of the web to create a quick and easy retrieval system for data.
As we teach students to search the internet effectively, what we are really teaching is an exercise in critical thinking project management. With Google as the default , go-to guy in the research game, many students limit themselves to what they find on that first page of search results. This is not all bad, but it can be limiting. To combat this, Google offers numerous toold for teachers. Google for Educators provides Search Education lessons developed by Google Certified Teachers. Organizee into modules, the site focuses on teaching about validity and site credibility. Despite this extensive grip that Google has on access to data, there are other ways to gather information that students and teachers should understand and be able to access.
The University of California, Berkeley has a great library tutorial that offers a clear guidelines for researching the web effectively. UC provides students with avenues that move beyond Google and open up what they call the Invisible or Deep Web: What it is, How to find it, and Its inherent ambiguity.
Try asking your students to research a topic, look for videos and images or gather data without Google. You would be suprised how few even know where to begin. Resources? Here are a few to think about:
- Compfight is an easy way to search Flickr for images. Set the search menu to Creative Commons only, and search results will yield images in the public domain.
- Common Craft videos are always excellent sources of technology how-tos
- Shahi is a visual dictionary that combines content from Wictionary with images from Google, Yahoo, and Flickr to give both text and visual definitions for keywords.
- Ambiently semantically connects webpages of similar or related meanings together. Click the “Ambient Page” bookmarklet on your browser to find
unexpected and useful websites for any webpage you are viewing.
- Noodle Tools guides students and teachers through an entire research process from information-gathering to organizing materials and creating and formatting bibliographies.
- KidsClick is a gated search tool developed for kids by librarians. Materials are topically divided and subdivided and keyword-searchable. Categories such as Machines and Transportation, Geography, History, Biography, and Society and Governmentlimit returns for younger students, but offer ample resources for projects and background materials.
- Soungle is a database of royalty-free, downloadable sounds from drums and church bells to 64 kinds of gun noise, 99 trains, 27 horses, and 33 for rain. The database is not transparent, so the challenge is guessing what search terms or keywords may yield results