Power Searching with Google – Class 5

Checking Your Facts

I was really looking forward to this class because how to assess credibility and bias are big issues with my students. They are of the “if it’s in the top results it must be the best site” mind. Before I even ventured into this class, I tweeted about it and Dan Russell replied:

I was still very interested in how the search experts would approach this topic and would definitely love a full class on it in the future.

  • I liked the first video as an overview of what search results really mean and need to get my students to understand that the ranking of a site does not equate to its credibility.
  • I have used the All About Explorers site for lessons on credibility and have found some variant data involved while using it. For example, in the John Cabot Treasure Hunt my students found that they had a hard time finding out exactly when and where John Cabot died.
  • Good points in the second video about not searching for the things that you think you already know. Teaching students how to frame their search is so important.
  • Interesting idea to use the date range options to look at the validity of quotes. This would also have to lead to other credibility ideas since dates can be spoofed on servers or can just be wrong for some reason. Also, you would need to be sure to verify the validity of the site also.
  • Using WHOIS to look up who owns a site is a good idea for students to use and be aware of however there seemed to be a problem with this lesson since it was stated that the name server owns the company and this isn’t true; they merely host the site. In the example given, Johnson & Johnson probably does own Splenda but that’s not always the case.

Things I wondered about during this class:

  • Are extra words really bad in searches? Any time I do search classes or read search hints I find that I include more words than is recommended as the best way. I don’t type sentences or questions but I do include more than the minimum. How bad is that really?
  • Since not all books are scanned, searching books doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re looking for doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t exist (yet) on Google. How do I get my students to use searching within books when appropriate but to realize that it may not be the definitive answer?
  • Why was there no mention of finding a site author and checking their credibility through additional searches. This is a skill I feel is really important for my students to use.

Are you teaching search skills to your students? What kinds of activities or lessons are you doing with your students to address credibility of sites and bias on sites?

Power Searching with Google – Class 4

Find Facts Faster

As I went through Class 4, here were some of my thoughts:

  • I definitely want to use Search by Image with my students and am thinking of an Internet Scavenger Hunt of some kind with this. This can be such a powerful tool. I know I use it to see if my images are being used on the web anywhere that I don’t know about.
  • As I was completing the activities, I couldn’t help but think how cool it would be if the testing tool could perform the search that was being asked for when you clicked in the answer box so it could show you the actual answer rather than just a hint about finding the answer. This has to be possible and it would make the activities even better!
  • I really wonder if the panel options on a Google Search will ever be available on tablets I hope so and can see it happening especially since Google just released the Nexus 7. On a side note that has nothing to do with searching, I also really hope that full editing capabilities in Google documents is available soon on mobile devices!
  • I love the idea of translated foreign pages. It truly does bring the world together. I hadn’t really played with this before. I had used Google Translate but not searched for translated foreign pages. Have you used this with your students? What have you done with it?

Power Searching with Google – 1/2 Way Through

Class 3 – Advanced Techniques:

I am now half way through the Power Searching with Google course and the course is getting into more advanced searching techniques. I was aware of all of the options introduced in this class but I was reminded of some search options I don’t use very option like intext.

As I went through this class, I wondered why Daniel Russell started with adding filetype: to the search term and not with using Advanced Search? I typically start my students with Advanced Search and then go into how you can do this yourself. Now, I’m thinking I might flip this approach.

Mid-class Assessment:

I found the questions pretty straight forward on this assessment and love that I got 100% the first time I took this! Yeah! I really like that you could retake this if you wanted and your scores would be averaged together. To me this is a much better way to assess students then a one-shot try at a test.


I think the mid-class hangout with Dan Russell and Tasha Bergson-Michelson was a great way to get some questions answered that people might have and to get a live aspect into a class this large. I have no idea how many people are actually taking the course but I’m sure it’s way more than you could easily manage “live” not to mention all the timezone differences. I was actually not home for the live hangout but watched it afterwards and you can too!

 What have you thought so far about the course? Have you learned anything new?

Power Searching with Google – Class 2

I just finished Class 2 of Power Searching with Google which focused on Interpreting Results. This day really brought out the differences in Google in the U.S. versus the rest of the world. The forum was full of posts about not being able to see the panel on the right. Apparently that doesn’t show up on all versions of Google even on a desktop.

I feel that Lesson 2 is key to teaching my students about search and was somewhat disappointed that this didn’t dig deeper. I know that this is something I try to address in depth when they are learning about effective search techniques and this felt very brief to me.

I also want to really emphasize the information covered in Lesson 4 with my students. So often they’ll just click on the top result without paying any attention to the information on the results page. I like how Daniel Russell presented this and hope the videos will be available after the course so I can use a few of them with my students. I feel it would be beneficial for my students to see a Google  expert present some of this information even if some of the search terms aren’t necessarily things my students would be looking for. The way this video ends would be a great jumping off point for talking about credibility of sites also.

Some things I wonder after this class:

  • Why aren’t there some kind of instructions on how to use the U.S. version of the browser elsewhere in the world and what the assumptions made for Search Settings? I have Google Instant turned off and know that’s why I wasn’t seeing the same things when I tried the searches but some people might not realize that is even a setting. Maybe this will be a subject in future classes.
  • Do Google’s Suggestions and Instant Results help or hurt when teaching students about search? It’s really easy to just click on a suggestion or click the first site that comes up in the results rather than thinking about what you’re really want to find. I want my students to analyze and think.
  • Since my students share computers at school, what effect is the searching of others on the same computer having on the search results?

I also learned about yarn bombing. Have you ever heard of this? Here are a couple of my favorite examples:
IMGP6880 Streetware [2011-10-01]
Photo by: JAM Project – License: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Rocky says . . .
Photo by: Ahd Photography – License: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Are you taking the course? What are your thoughts so far?

Power Searching with Google – Class 1

I struggle each year with how to help my students to understand and use web searching to most effectively find what they need. I have used many of the resources at Google Search Education but haven’t been completely happy with what I’m doing. I saw that Google was offering an online course called Power Searching with Google and I immediately signed up to see how the experts would approach this.

Today, July 10, 2012, the first class became available online. I really like the approach of a short video followed by an activity to practice what was taught and then another video and another activity, etc. I’ll definitely be adapting this next year in the Computer Lab. I am also enjoying the interactions in the forum and think I’ll have some kind of back channel available when I’m doing this in the lab so students can talk to and help one another if they get stuck.

Some things I wondered about:

  • Why did Daniel Russell start with filtering images by color and not with how search works?
  • How do I get my students to stop asking questions when searching on Google when Google is getting better and better at interpreting these and giving them the correct answer? Interestingly, in the example during the class, the question returned less results than using just the keywords.
  • Why is this answer wrong? The video says that adjacent words do result in a higher ranking so shouldn’t this be true? If it is true, I hope the activity gets fixed. If it’s really not true, then I need to be analyzing the questions more closely.
  • Why didn’t the video in Lesson 6 include how Internet Explorer handles CTRL/CMD+F? I was amused it wasn’t mentioned but there are still quite a few people using that browser.
  • Will we find out how we did on the Pre-Class Assessment?

I am enjoying the experience so far and am looking forward to what Class 2 will bring. Are you taking this online class? What did you think of Class 1? If you’re not taking the class and you’re interested in doing so, you can still register for it at http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/ until (I believe) July 16th.