• Web-based Career & Technical Education

Have You Overlooked This Key Part of Teaching Internet Search Skills?

October 11th, 2017 Mike Gecawich

Imagine you’d never seen snow before or even heard about it, and one day you go outside and it’s snowing!

Well, naturally, in this day and age the first thing you do when you come across something unfamiliar is to Google it.

But looking up “what is this white stuff falling from the sky” surprisingly comes up with all kinds of alternative things (yes, I just tried it)… a lot of which are conspiracy theories and have nothing to do with the real thing!

By not knowing where to start or what vocabulary to use, a search can actually come up with very poor results.

We’ve talked about teaching students how to conduct internet searches before. A lot of that is focused on being able to filter through the results for reliable information.

But what if students don’t get any decent results to begin with?

Help your students improve their chances of success with internet searching (one of the most important skills) by teaching them some tools and tricks that will guarantee the best results.

Teaching Students How to Conduct an Effective Internet Search

Choose The Best Words for a Search

Students often struggle when it comes to knowing exactly what they should type into the Google search bar.

Choosing search terms that are too vague or have multiple meanings can often confuse their results.

To get started, check out this great lesson plan from Google on how to pick the right search terms.

By having students start with the question they want to answer and then pick out keywords to work with, they are much more likely to generate relevant results.

Develop Prior Knowledge

Sometimes, students can’t even generate a question they want to ask because they don’t know enough about a topic to know what they should be wondering.

In these cases, you want to help students build prior knowledge about the topic at hand so that they can better understand what they want more information on.

You can do this in a number of ways. You might provide students with a reading to do for homework about the topic. Or, you might help lead students to websites that can provide background information.

History.com is great for all things history. While Wikipedia isn’t considered a reliable source for academic research, it can be used to build general background knowledge.

Set a Purpose for Research

Having a purpose for research will help students narrow down what they are searching for and identify the most useful sources when they see them.

Richard Byrne, of FreeTech4Teachers.com has created this useful pre-search checklist. Thus, before students even touch their fingers to keyboard they are encouraged to accumulate prior knowledge and keywords on the subject.

This is likely to make an internet search much more focused when students head to their computers.

Learn to Use Filters

Using search filters can be a great way to generate the most relevant and appropriate search results.

Most search engines allow users to select if they’d like to search images, videos, news, or academic research.

There are also options to specify how recent information should be.

Guide students through the process of using these filters to find information that will make the most sense given their pre-specified purpose.

Give Lots of Practice

Want to give students structured and authentic opportunities to practice conducting internet searches? Look no further than iAcademy.

iAcademy’s workbooks Internet Search Activities #1 and Internet Search Activities #2 lead students through a number of fun activities that hone their skills at conducting effective internet searches.

With topics that are interesting to teens, these workbooks are an easy way to help students become internet search masters before delving into their own unique research.

Give it a little time and practice, and your students will soon be ready to explore the unlimited information that’s just a click away.

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