More on students using search engines

Looking up stuff

Looking up stuff,
originally uploaded by shareski.

I can really use this at home. This is great, let me save it to my favourites. I am going to set this as my main search page. I want to show Dad what you can find when you use this!

These are comments from year 7 students about search engines! Not about some of the other great tools they are also using. Today I have shown yet more students the visual search engines SearchMe and Viewzi and another Year 7 class these search engines as well as using the advanced search option in Google. We began with using Google to find information on Ancient Egypt and then moved on to the other two search engines. I also used Viewzi with a year 7 class last Friday and they were again impressed with it. After showing them the different views, I had them using the video view and the 4 sources view. They appreciate the benefits of viewing the page before opening it up fully and compared the pages they found very easily. They students worked their way through various keyword searches and tried different different search engines and views.
In last Friday’s class we also used Cuil, and we had some fun with some of the results. Typed in “Oblong” and had no mathematical hits but the class then thought to put in “oblong shape”and they got the required information. The “wrong” results are great discussion points and learning tools. They are getting the hang of thinking carefully about search terms/keywords. The students liked the results they go when looking for cuneiform (part of their Sumer study). For one thing, it seemed to help them with their spelling of unfamiliar terms. This same class that worked with SearchMe the previous week and we only had time for the bare basics. They went on to use it in the days between the classes, with satisfying results.(their impression as well as mine). In all cases the students and the teachers really like the idea of saving the sites they find into the SearchMe

All of the the various students, mostly juniors but also some seniors, I have shown the visual search engines are seeing beyond basic Google to other options. They have also tried Mooter and iBoogie. The clustering interested them but SearchMe, for instance, offers a little of that as well as other benefits. I have begun to work on a follow-up, by creating a space for questions or prompts with online data collection. This will allow our students can critique the search engines they have been using, once they have had a little more time using each, and make comments and suggestions. I explained what a Beta version was and now they want to know if their comments and suggestions can also be sent to the designers.

One comment from a year 7 student was “I guess the search engine I decide to use will depend on what I am looking for” that’s a comment I am very happy to hear.

One Response

  1. So many great things happening here. The kids are engaged, interacting, thinking, evaluating, having fun. It’s learning at its best.

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