Tech Tip Tuesday

12 January 2016

Are your students "search savvy"?

You ask your students to research something, anything. What do they do? Google it, right? And, what's often their default site? Wikipedia. Whether you allow your students to use that site or not, there are ways to teach them to search more efficiently. This article from We are Teachers shares 11 tips, and here are some of my favorites:

Is it CRAP, or is it trustworthy?

Teach your students the CRAP (or CRAAP) test to evaluate sources. I push students to especially think about Authority. Who created the site? Why can you trust them? If interested, I'm happy to go over this anytime before research. About half of the Freshmen have learned this so far this year (along with other random groups). More Information
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Evaluate Search Results

Search by Domain (and other Search Operators)

Search operators are words that can be added to searches to help narrow down the results. Sites ending in .gov and .edu are automatically more reliable. It doesn't mean .com, .org, or others aren't reliable...students just need to be sure other parts of the CRAP test are reliable.

To search by domain (or to search a specific site), add site:+the site or domain you want to search. For example, if you are searching for articles on Syria, use Syria and Syria (to search just articles on or articles on .gov sites). Or, students can do this through Google Advanced Search.

*With .edu sites, just be aware some sites may be student created if a school's domain is .edu.

Keywords? Boolean Operators?

Words like the, and, or, etc. don't matter in Google. Students should decide what keywords, or search terms, are significant for their topic. And, if one search term doesn't work well, they should think of synonyms for the original keywords.

You can also use Boolean Operators or symbols to search. Use - to take away results (jaguars -cars). Put search terms in quotes to get specific phrases together. More Information

Choose the Right Search Terms
Making the Best Use of Search Engines

Control+F and Command+F

This is one of my favorite tips I use all the time. Once your students find a site they will use for research, teach them to use Ctrl+F (Command+F on a Mac) to search within that site. It's easier to drill down to what you're searching for when your terms are highlighted.
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