Sunday, May 17, 2015

Teaching Students Web Searching Skills: A Few Resources

I have had several conversations this week about our students and their research skills, a topic I often discuss with classroom teachers and administrators.

What research skills do our students already have and how can we improve them? 

People are usually surprised by how poorly their students perform web searches or show such a ack of care with their choice of low quality websites. Most adults assume that students either learned these skills early in their school career or that they just get it because of their age. The peer reviewed studies on kids and research don't support this assumption. Instead, students don't put a lot of thought into planning their search. Their searches are unfocused and they don't evaluate their results or refine their search as they go along.

You may find that you have to teach your students these skills so that they can complete your assignments more effectively. Or better yet, check in with your friendly school librarian. They are teachers who are trained to teach these skills.

There are a ton of resources out there, but here are few that I like a lot.

Google Resources
Google has provided some great resources for web searching, because why wouldn't they? It's in their best interest. The Google Search Education Evangelism team no longer updates their site, but their materials are still there. Hack College has a useful infographic that is like a mini-course all in place. Google has a great interactive feature called How Search Works and one of their engineers created this short video explaining the search engine.

This organization based out of the Illinois Math and Science Academy has great tutorials and activities for teaching search and evaluation skills.A lot of the materials are free.

The West Chicago High School LRC has a text based tutorial called Search School. It covers the basic of constructing a search on a search engine. Full Disclosure: I was the author of the tutorial, so  I am bit biased about its quality.