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.