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Friday, February 10, 2017

Searching and Sharing Are Thinking Skills

Searching for information in many ways is easier today than ever before. You can search by typing a query into a search engine, you can speak to search, and you can use the camera on your smart phone to search by image. In a new city and looking for a good place to eat? Just turn on your phone's location data and Google will give you all kinds of recommendations.

But while we have more tools to locate information than ever before, we don't necessarily find better information or even accurate information through all of those tools. That's why whenever I teach search strategies, the first thing that I talk about is the thought processes needed in order to form a good search strategy. For me and my students this always begins with creating a list of the things we know to be facts about the topic we'er researching. That way, we can quickly check the information we find against that which has already been established as fact.

Similarly, in a time in which we're increasingly aware of fake news being spread through social media, we should be teaching students to look at social media news stories with a critical eye. Does the story seem to good to be true? (Why would an airline give away $500 to the first 1000 people to like something on Facebook? Answer, they're not). Do the "facts" in a headline seem incongruent with what you know to be facts? Did you actually read the story? These are all things that we should be asking before sharing.

I'll be sharing more thoughts on this topic in Search Strategies Students Need to Know