Thursday, December 20, 2007

Search Engines

How have you been able to use search engines in your own teaching or learning?
I use Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask Jeeves for Kids, Enchanted Learning and Discoverer Online Library mostly with my class. I often conduct live searches directly in front of my students to model how to access information. It is a hard skill to learn - how to search the Internet. You have to know what key words to use to get the desired results. The biggest hurdle for my students is understanding the results. When students are making a search I prefer to recommend search engines that have been set up for kids. The others such as Yahoo etc are really for further information.I try to teach my students that pictures are just as important as words and are often easier to understand.

How can having access to large amounts of information via the web empower learning?
I believe that the Internet empowers learning by allowing us to access anything and everything quickly and easily. The hardest part to this for my Grade 3 and 5 students is knowing what to use and what to discard.
How might it disempower learning?
Quality. Just because there is a lot of information doesn’t mean that it is equal in quality. My students last year were most shocked to discover that there class blogs were popping up in Google searches as resources. I have to constantly teach about creditable resources. Look at the site author and the site itself.