As stated on Moodle, each individual tends to be a different sort of web learner when researching, depending on the scenario. These being “knowledge seekers, feature seekers, and apathetic users”. Majority of the time I tend to fit the role of an apathetic searcher. This tends to reflect the times when I am tired or bored, and am browsing the Internet trying to complete an assignment, or looking up information for my own personal knowledge. However if I am working on a major assignment, or come across certain information that I am particularly passionate about or intrigued by, I strictly become a knowledgeable searcher looking only to find useful information to expand my understanding.
When reading the information for this module I immediately noticed that I am an individual that uses Google perhaps a little too much. One of the reasons that I believe that I have become so dependent on Google, is due to the fact that the Google search bar is already embedded in the URL bar of my internet browser, making it extremely convenient to just type the topic there instead of taking the time to find another search engine. A lot of the ideas about how to search items the proper way to find the most relevant results were features that I already knew about and that I tend to use if I am researching an important topic. However, when I am working on a project that is more professional, I shy away from Google and tend to do all of my research on Academic archives, through the university library website.
I think that recognizing what types of researchers each individual is, as well as understanding what type of researcher you should become in each different situation, is something that I think is extremely important for learners to know and something that I would want to have conversations with my future students about. With this I think it will be important to share the ways to properly conduct web searches in a way that is the most time efficient and will save them from becoming stressed out.
One way that I think would be a fun and applicable way to teach my future students about the use of different search engines and how to properly pursue the information would be through an amazing race style web quest. Students would be divided into different groups, and each group would be assigned a certain search engine that would become their only vehicle. Each time that a group is able to find a specific website, or a specific piece of information, they would be given their next clue/topic. The group to find the proper research results for all the topics first would essentially win. Some groups would have cue cards with the “Boolean” techniques that would help to minimize their search results.
Having this type of activity occur with students in the same classroom would be a way for students to physically see how some search engines work better for finding more relevant and scholarly information than others. After seeing this in action, I believe that it would be something that would motivate students to be more critical with their research habits, and be motivate them to become “knowledge seekers” when browsing the web.
While the idea for a lesson above would perhaps be aimed towards Junior High to High School students, I think that it could even be adapted to help students at the Elementary level. During my PSI practicum my grade three students were working on an animal research project and were using Google, as well as Ask Jeeves to find their information. Something that myself and the students kept noticing was that there were way too many results showing during their searches, and a lot of the information that was coming up was something that was not relevant. Before we could continue with the assignment I had to incorporate a lesson on how to make proper searches on the internet, and what sorts of topics to type into the search bar to get relevant results. After adding this in students were able to finish up their assignment substantially faster, and majority of the students switched over to another search engine.