Digital Information Reading Strategies

Digital Information Reading Strategies

Anyone who has been to any of my presentations in the past couple of years knows that I’m passionate about teaching search skills. Not only search skills, but how search can and is truly changing our world. Search has the possibility to change our classrooms tomorrow because we can ask interesting questions that we never could ask before. If you are asking your students the same questions today that you asked before Google, it’s time to updated your questions. Things have changed….the world has changed and questions and information are the main reason why. I consider Dan Russell from Google the father of search today. This guy understands how our world is changing because we can ask questions we never could before. In this TEDx Talk Dan talks not only about how search is changing our world but more importantly the reading strategies we need to be teaching today to our students around how to read digital information. Dan, through research of his own, goes on to show that only 51% of educators know the digital information reading strategy of “Find”. That’s just one strategy! There are others he talks about in this video. If nothing else this video has fueled my passion even more on why every teacher needs to know and understand this new digital world of information. I strongly encourage you to watch and listen to this video…what in it speaks to you about our current state of “reading and search skills” as they are taught in our schools...

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Google Voice Search 2013

Google Voice Search 2013

I often show off a lot of these features when I’m presenting….blows teachers away on what you can do….and a great conversation on how this along changes learning…because it has to. This works on ANY device (the searching part not the “OK Google” part..that is for MotoX phones only and why I’m excited to get mine.) Android devices built in. Figure how how to launch voice search from your phone/tablet iOS devices download the Google Search App from the iTunes store and find the speaker button. Laptops got o Google.com in Chrome and click on the speaker in the search box. Then have some searching fun and just think how this changes your classroom....

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Why K-12 schools are failing by not teaching SEARCH

Why K-12 schools are failing by not teaching SEARCH

This past week I had the opportunity to spend a day with some of the faculty at Western Washington University talking about reverse instruction…or at least my idea of what that means. To get started, we did a little reverse instruction of our own where I had them read the connectivism article by George Siemens before I arrived. Once I got there, we then set up the classroom for discussion with collaborative note taking and a back channel chat…both were new concepts to most present. However, as cool as it was to be talking with faculty at a University, I soon found myself apologizing for the K-12 system and its failure in providing students with the skills they need to be ready for college. As we were having a great discussion about the connectivism article and what it meant for universities and their classrooms, one faculty member spoke up with this: I just wish they could find information better. They can’t tell the junk from the good stuff. ….and that’s when I started apologizing for our K-12 system. I find it sad that university professors are not using technology in their classes. They are not trying new things like posing interesting questions and having students research those questions and come to class ready to have deep discussions about them because “they can’t tell the junk from the good stuff”. As soon as this statement was made, heads started nodding around the room and with my own recent rantings on this subject as well….I led them into that discussion. “I’m sorry the K-12 system has failed your students….they should know how to search by the time they get to college. But seeing that they don’t, until your students come prepared, you are going to have to pick up the slack.” I then spent 30 minutes teaching university faculty how to search….because guess what……they didn’t know how to either. Which is exactly what I’ve come across with K-12 teachers, which helps to explain the unpreparedness of our students. So who is teaching our teachers the skills they need to teach our students? Then today as I’m thinking about all of this I stumble across this new research done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project titled: How Teens Do Research In the Digital World Full disclosure: I haven’t read the whole paper yet but am reading it as I write...

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9th – 12th Grade Search Lesson

9th – 12th Grade Search Lesson

In this lesson we will focus on the following two ideas: Domain Extensions and the site: syntax (See 6-8th Grade Lesson Plan) Finding current research Set Up: Each student with their own computer or device or as close as possible. Prime the Pump: When learning to do research not only is it worth your time to do in depth research, but also to find the most current research out there on your subject. From today on, I will not accept websites as resources that are older than 3 years. Domain Extensions and using the site: syntax Follow the 6-8th grade lesson plan as this is relevant here as well. Narrowing down your search by date As you search for information on Google, Google allows you to set a date range using the menu on the left hand side to refine your search by date. Because information changes so quickly having relevant information that is up to date is a must. Find the date range area “Search Tools” link right under the search box. Create a custom date range from today’s date going back 3 years. You will notice the search results change as you set the date range. Depending on how fast information within your topic is changing you can widen or narrow the dates in which you search. As a rule of thumb, 3 years is a good range for any data you need for research papers in school. On Their Own: Have students play with both the date range and the site: syntax to see how these two very powerful filters can be used together to get you the results you want. Depending on how much students know, you can also introduce them to the “create a phrase” as well as the AND syntax to combine more than one thought. Homework: Watch these three videos from the Head of Google Search about advance search techniques to help you be more efficient in your searching. Searching With Google Words Matter Advance Searching   From the millions of results we can look at how the Chinese government views global warming. Once I do this search, I might do a search for other countries and their take on global warming. I can then compare and contrast the information that is coming from different countries and what each country is doing, not doing, or what they believe is the cause of global warming....

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6th – 8th Grade Search Lesson

6th – 8th Grade Search Lesson

In this lesson we will be teaching about domain extensions and the Google Search Syntax ‘site’: as well as how to turn on reading levels in Google Advance Search. Together this knowledge will allow students to find the relevant information they need while doing research. Set Up: It is best if each student has their own computer for this lesson, however groups of 2-4 will work as well. Prime the Pump:There is a lot of information on the Internet today. Do a search for any term and Google will give you back millions of hits. But finding the right information can be tricky. Google is pretty good at giving us the information we want but how do you search through the millions of results to get the information that is right for you without wasting time reading through the wrong web pages.By understanding domain extensions and using Google’s site: search syntax we can quickly get to the information we need. Who can own a website? What does .com stand for? What about .org? How about .net? Who can own these websites? Answer: Anyone. These along with others are called “open domains” and anyone can own them for about $10-15 for each website. You don’t have to be a certain age, you don’t have to own a business, you just have to be willing to pay. Historical Side Note: When the Internet started nobody thought it would be what it is today. In fact they thought only three entities would use the Internet. Commercial Businesses, Organizations, and Networks. Of course we know today the Internet is much larger than was originally anticipated. Things got ugly when the Internet starting becoming popular and people starting buying .com websites that were not businesses, or .org websites that were not organizations. In the end they all became “open domains” or anyone could own them. Closed Domains: There are a few closed domains on the Internet. Domains that you cannot buy unless you are a specific business or government. The two most well known closed domains are .gov (government) and .edu or .ac (Education or Academic Institution depending on the country). Nobody can buy these domains. .gov domains are reserved for governments and .edu and .ac are reserved for schools. Only governments and schools can have those domains. Country Domains: As the Internet grew people needed to know where the website was located. For...

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