Sunday, January 25, 2009

Teaching Internet Search Strategies

On Tuesday a new semester begins at my school (staff development day tomorrow). Most of my classes are year-long courses, but I do teach one course that starts anew with a new batch of students. One of the first lessons that conduct with all of my new students is about web research strategies. This lesson, like all others, is a little different each time I do it. Two of the resources that I used in the fall to teach about search strategies are the Boolify Project and the Boolean Machine.

Two resources that I am adding to my lessons about Internet research are Internet Tutorials Primer in Boolean Logic and the Common Craft video explanation of Search Strategies. The Primer in Boolean Logic provides a simple explanation, with graphics, of how operator words can alter the results of a web search. The Common Craft video, embedded below, gives a simple explanation of how search engines operate, sort results, and how users can alter their search terms to get better results.

(If you're viewing this in RSS you may need to visit the blog directly to see the video).

Applications for Education
Teaching web search strategies early in the semester can prevent frustration for you and your students down the road. The Boolify Project mentioned above is suitable for students in elementary school through high school. The Primer in Boolean logic is probably best suited to high school and college students.