Sunday, May 6, 2012

Google Search Education Portal

As a Teacher Librarian, many of my class lessons focus on offering pathfinders and pointing students to the best quality sources available for their research projects. At the top of most of my pathfinders are any subscription databases (mostly those accessible to us through our county library system) that might help with their topics, since I want them to know about the best quality sources available. I am very well aware, though, that even when I am able to offer links to great databases for a given assignment, most of the students will prefer "Googling" it. I think we do a diservice to our students when we simply point to good sources and don't also teach them the best ways to ferret the information out of these sources using good search strategies and how to effectively search and evaluate information on the open web.

I was delighted this week to learn about Google's new Search Education Hub, which offers lesson plans, slides, and videos to help students and educators alike learn effective search and evaluation techniques, including:
  • Picking the right search terms
  • Understanding search results
  • Narrowing a search to get the best results
  • Searching for evidence for research tasks
  • Evaluating credibility of sources
For each of these topics, there is a beginner, intermediate, and advanced lesson option. So far, I have checked out the beginning search terms lesson, the advanced evaluating credibility lesson, and several in between. I learned some techniques I didn't know in each of them, so I know they will provide my students and classroom teachers alike with new information and skills. I definitely plan to go through each of these for my own review and new information, and to find ways to share them with students and teachers.

Here's a video introduction:

Thanks so much to Tasha Bergson-Michelson, Google Search Educator, for leading the team developing these and for sharing them with me. Those of you attending the CSLA (California School Library Association) Annual Conference in November will have the great opportunity to hear Tasha's keynote presentation on Saturday, November 17 on "Curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking: Why school libraries matter more than ever." You can also plan to arrive early on November 16 and participate in the pre-conference tour of Google along with a special Google workshop. Do put these dates on your calendar now!