Researching

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.

 

Significant Comment:http://jblog3.weebly.com/journal/researching?

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5 thoughts on “Researching

  1. Hey Paige,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, and found that you are very similar to me when it comes to being a web-based researcher. The idea of the “Amazing Race” activity sounds like a lot of fun for students and I may have to steal your idea! For this activity would it be beneficial for students to try and use different search engines? Perhaps, it may allow students to broaden their tools instead. Or would you have students share their findings with the search engine that they used with the rest of the class after the Amazing Race activity was over? What do you think would work best?

    -Michael Quiambao

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    • Hi Michael,
      Thank you for your response! I think it would be beneficial to have each group working with one search engine, so that they are able to fully explore using it, to become the expert. After the activity I would have the students share their findings, and then leave time for groups to each take a look at each individual search engine. This way students would be getting a more in-depth presentation of each engine, and then able to take the time to decide what will be most effective to them during their future research.
      -Paige Walsh

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  2. Hey Paige!

    Thanks for the journal response of researching. Like Michael, I thought the idea of Amazing Race is a great way to incorporate a lesson on search engines! It’s a fun and creative way to illustrate the importance of different search engines to students. It’s extremely important for students to understand the various search engines and how to properly research. On the internet, there are numerous sites on how to properly research, such as http://hanlib.sou.edu/searchtools/searchtips.html. However, I believe the idea of Amazing Race would be more successful for the students, as they get to identify how to narrow down searches on their own. Therefore, they will first hand understand the importance of knowing how to search and how different search sites can affect your results.

    Thank you for your post on researching and the great idea of Amazing Race!

    – Shayla Mulholland

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  3. Hi Paige,
    I also enjoyed reading your blog! I found that you are very similar to me in the ways in which you research, and I am starting to think that it is actually quite normal for people to switch their style of research depending on the task at hand. Google is also my main source when it comes to searching, and I never thought of the embedded search bar next to my URL. That is a good point and it just shows how prominent Google really is when it comes to the world of search engines. As Michael highlighted, the Amazing Race lesson you came up with sounds like great fun! I also might have to keep that in mind. I think it could be turned into a few different lessons by having groups of students use a different search engine each time, and then once they have explored all that you provide for them, they can choose their favourite one. This would not be hard to do at the junior or senior high levels because there is many different topics they should be researching anyway. I think it would also be good for them to really dissect the websites and have them find pros and cons to each search engine. There are so many thing you could do with that!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Jenn Wall

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  4. Hi Page,
    I appreciate you practical approach to teaching this skill and would definitely use your web quest. I have noticed over the years that students are able to use technology very well and incorporate many features associated with that technology fairly seamlessly. However, much of what children incorporate into their technological world is from watching what others do and being told where to go get it. You know how it goes. “Hey! check this new app out. A friend of my brother told me to go to this site and…”
    We tend to assume that because kids can use technology well, they can use the internet with skill. That is often not to be the case. In my grade 8 class, most kids have no idea there are other search engines other than Google. If you were to design your web quest, it would be a great idea to scaffold the basics of internet use and web page layouts into a number of web quest lessons prior to the culminating task. You would be surprised by the number of students who type searches into the URL bar and type URL addresses into a search box. Other than images, there also seems to be little working knowledge about directories to help narrow searches. There is a lot we can do to help teach our kids before we introduce advanced searches.
    If you ever produce this web quest, it would not only be useful to children. I know many teachers who are not comfortable with using the internet and would jump at the opportunity to use what you have created. Go for it!

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