My favorite happens to be Google, and I think that it's because throughout the last 2 years, I have really dedicated some time to learning how Google works. As you can imagine, I spend a fair amount of time on the Internet learning, researching, troubleshooting, etc., so I really need to understand how to search in Google.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: What else could I need to know about Google? It's so easy because I can go to www.google.com, enter my search term, press enter, and then follow the first link. Well, sure, that works sometimes. But spending a little time learning how to search in Google will help you find exactly what you're looking for quickly. And, you might learn about a few of Google's cool features along the way.
Here's a great 7 minute video from TeacherTube with some timesaving Google search tips:
So, as you may have learned from the video, it's all about how you search in Google. You sort of have to train yourself to think a little differently--instead of just typing a few random words into the search area. This is such an important skill for us (adults) to learn, but imagine if your students were Google pros (I bet that some of them are). Instead of spending countless class periods looking at (mostly useless and irrelevant) information, they could be finding exactly what they need--quickly! We spend so much time teaching kids how to use reference books, but we don't spend much time at all teaching them how to use the Internet. (By the way, where do you think most of the are going to start their research?...Hmmm...)
Check this page out too. It's Google's search "help" page that lists some of the other things that Google will search for (and how to do it): movies, stocks, flights, calculator, unit conversion...It's pretty amazing.
One final thought: This might seem strange to you, but it's something that I've noticed recently. The way in which we navigate to websites breaks us into 3 groups:
- People who use Google as their homepage and use it as their "portal" to get where they want to go. For example, if they wanted to visit the Target website, they would type "target" into the Google search space, press enter, and follow the first search return (which is the Target store). This seems a little weird to me. It seems like an extra, unneccessary step, right?
- People who use whatever homepage they want and type the URL of the site they want to visit into the address bar. So, this person would just type http://www.target.com/. This makes more sense to me.
- People who keep a list of "favorites" or "bookmarks" and use those to navigate to sites.
So which one are you? I created this poll to find out, so cast your vote! I'm interested to see what the results will be...
Please let me know if you'd like me to come into your class and help your students learn how to Google fast and efficiently!