Showing posts with label google search challenges. Show all posts
Showing posts with label google search challenges. Show all posts

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Simple, Effective Search Challenge Lessons

One of my favorite ways to reinforce the use of good search strategies to students is to show interesting pictures and have students try to make a long list of questions about what they see. Then I let the students try to find the answers to those questions. When they get stuck, I intervene to remind them of one of the search strategies that they have been taught. (Google's search education page has great lesson plans for teaching core search strategies).

Creating image-based search challenges:
1. Locate three public domain or Creative Commons licensed pictures to use as search prompts. If you have pictures of your own that you want to use, that’s okay too.
2. In Google Slides create a list of questions that your students might ask about the image. Put one question on each slide.
3. Arrange the slides in order of difficulty. On each slide give a search hint in the speaker notes.
4. Publish your search challenge activity and share the link in this form.

My "Big Truck" example:
Some of the most common questions that are asked when I show this picture to students or adults.
Where was this picture taken?
How big is the truck?
How much fuel does the truck consume?
How big are the tires?

All four of the questions above can be answered by using various search strategies and tools. Using the "similar images search" in Google Images will help you answer these questions. Google Maps Street View will help you answer the questions too. And while not essential to answering the questions, refining your search to a specific top-level domain could help too.

How to help students become better researchers is one of the topics covered in depth at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fake or Real? - A Fun Google Search Challenge

Over the years I've written quite a bit Dan Russell's work and the concept of using images as the basis of web search challenge activities for students. Last month, Dr. Russell posted another fun search challenge that could be completed by middle school and high school students. That challenge is called Real or Fake? You can read the challenge set-up here and the solutions here.

There are three parts to the Real or Fake challenge. In the first part students have to decide if a picture is real or fake. The second part of the challenge asks students to determine the validity of a Trip Advisor review. The third aspect of the challenge tasks students with determining the authenticity of quotes posted in social media memes.

Applications for Education
The thing that I like most about the Real or Fake challenge is that the emphasis is on critical thinking and not on technical tricks or deep knowledge or search engine operators. If they take time to evaluate the information in front of them and think critically about it, most middle school and high school students should be able to solve the three Real or Fake challenge activities.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What an Insect Can Teach Students About Search Strategies

Last week in my house I found an insect that I had never seen before. I tried to get the clearest picture I could of it before settling on the not-so-clear picture you see to the left. The construction of my house was just completed in October so I was worried that this bug might be something that could damage my house. I immediately went to Google to try to figure out what this mysterious insect was and if it could damage my house. Let's take a look at the search strategies I used to try to find my answers.

1. I tried uploading the picture to Google Images and adding the words "insect" and "Maine." That wasn't terribly effective because my picture was of a low quality and what I ended up with didn't get me very far. (I didn't expect that this method would work given the low quality of my image). Read more about this strategy here.

2. As I always encourage others to do, I created a list of the information I already had before going onto my next search attempt. Here's what I knew:

  • The insect is brown-ish. 
  • The insect was in my house which has lots of pine board, tongue and groove, ceilings. 
  • My house is sided with wide live-edge pine boards that were installed and sealed in October. 
  • If I type "bug" into Google I'm going to get results for the insect and the car. I needed to search using the word "insect" to refine my search from the start.  
  • I was worried about invasive insect species. 
3. Given everything I knew about the situation what I ended up using for search terms were "Maine insects home" which landed me here where I found a picture of the insect in question. From there I jumped to a fact sheet about the insect. The fact sheet answered my question about whether or not the insect could damage my house.  

Feel free to use this picture (click it to enlarge it) and search challenge with your students. Can your students find out if this insect will damage my house? Is the insect native to the ecosystem of Maine? 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Daniel Russell's Ten Favorite Search Challenges (Today)

Many times over the last few years I have mentioned how Daniel Russell's work has influenced the way that I use Google Search and how I teach others to use it. In fact, his work prompted me to start teaching others how to craft search challenge activities for students (example 1, example 2). This morning on Google+ Daniel Russell posted the slides of his ten favorite search challenges. As he noted in his Google+ post, these are his favorite challenges today and tomorrow they could be different.

Applications for Education
What I love about the search challenges Daniel Russell shares is that they force students to go beyond the basic Google search tools and to really think about their search strategies. The last slide in the slidedeck contains ten things to think about when you are trying to solve a search challenge.

If you haven't seen in before you also may want to take a look at my PDF, Ten Techniques to Make Yourself A Google Search Star.