Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Search Options When Your District Blocks Google Search

Late last week I got the following email from a reader:
Recently our district blocked Google Search. My teachers are frantic as to what to use for kid research etc....What are some of your go to search/research websites that do not link to Google?

My first sarcastic thought was to Google some suggestions :) But I didn't need to do that because alternatives to Google search is a topic that I've covered in many posts over the years. If you find yourself looking for alternatives to Google search, here are some options to try. 

Bing is probably the most obvious alternative to Google search. In a side-by-side comparison you'll probably notice a lot of similarities in the ranking of websites by Bing and Google.

The latest version of Bing includes a chat function that is powered by ChatGPT. With this function enabled you can search and get results in the traditional manner or you can view results in a manner that is conversational. As you can see in my demo that is embedded below, using the chat-enabled search function in Bing might get you the information you want a little faster than just clicking through links on a search results page. Watch this video for a demonstration of how to use Bing with ChatGPT.

Duck Duck Go is an alternative to Google search and Bing search. The company claims to not track search activity. Again, in a side-by-side comparison with Google you'd probably find a lot of similarities in the ranking of websites. There are some search refinement tools in Duck Duck Go. An overview of Duck Duck Go search refinement tools is included in this video.

Wolfram Alpha
Wolfram Alpha is a computational search engine. That means it is not a search engine designed to rank websites like Bing, Google, and DuckDuckGo. It's probably best known for helping students solve math problems. There's much more to it than solving math problems. Wolfram Alpha can be used to generate fact sheets, make comparisons, and much more. My brief overview of using Wolfram Alpha for social studies lessons is included in this video.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

225 NASA Infographics

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory website contains a large library of infographics that you can download and print for free. The library contains infographics about spacecraft, exploration missions, planets, moons, the solar system, and comets. I downloaded the What is a Comet Made Of? infographic that you see pictured below.

Applications for Education
If printed in color, these infographics could make a nice addition to your classroom walls. More importantly these infographics could provide a model for your students to follow as they create their own infographics about topics in space science. Canva is a great tool for making infographics. A set of 66 Canva tutorials can be found here

Digital Collections of 20th Century World History Declassified

The Wilson Center Digital Archive offers many collections of declassified historical documents. The documents contain memos and transcripts of communications between diplomats and country leaders. The collections are arranged into topics and themes. You'll find collections of documents related to the construction of the Berlin Wall, the origins of the Cold War, Sino-Soviet relations, and diplomatic efforts related to nuclear weapons.

Applications for Education
My first thought when looking at these collections of documents was to have students use these documents to fill-in the gaps in their history textbooks.

You could also give students some of the communications without the names of countries or diplomats showing. Then ask them to use their knowledge of the situation to determine which country or diplomat would have sent that communication.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Play Your Dates Right - A History Timeline Game

ClassTools.net has many great online game templates for history teachers to use. Play Your Dates Right is one of the templates that I like to use to create a game that is focused on helping students recall the sequence of historical events. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a simple timeline-based game with the Play Your Dates Right template from ClassTools.net.

Applications for Education
I've always stressed to my history students the importance of sequence. Play Your Dates Right could be a fun way for students to review the sequence of events in a unit of study. An obvious case use is in reviewing the causes of the outbreak of a war.

Bard, Search, and Gardens - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is rising as I sip my coffee and listen to the birds begin to chirp. The benefit of having a puppy that wakes up just before sunrise is getting to hear the birds as they wake up for the day. It's a nice way to start the day if you have to get up early on a Saturday morning. 

The highlight of my work week was getting to catch up with Dr. Scott McLeod on his visit to Maine. Scott has been a great source of advice and inspiration to me over the last fifteen+ years. So when he said he was coming to town I jumped at the chance catch up over dinner. 

I hope that you had a great week and have an even better weekend!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. A New Google Bard Feature
2. 71 Google Slides Tutorials for Teachers and Students
3. The Science of Gardening
4. Create Animated Simulations With Loopy
5. Scholar, Books, Datasets, and More - Google Search Tools Students Overlook
6. How to Add Excel to Your Mac
7. Breaking News With ClassTools

Self-paced Courses You Can Start Today

On Practical Ed Tech I have four self-paced courses that you can start today and finish at your own pace. 
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If you'd like to have me speak at your school or conference, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com or fill out the form on this page.  

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This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

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