Sunday, April 24, 2011

Basic Skills: Basic Search and Site Validity

Perform a basic search, review the results and identify validity and safety of a site.

ISTE NETS Standards (Model Digital-Age Work and Learning): model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.

Once you have begun troubleshooting, it is time to learn how to perform basic searches on the Internet. You will quickly find that the Internet is a large repository of information, with often several different ways to solve 1 issue or problem. So knowing how to sort through the wealth of information is crucial from a teachers perspective, especially since it can be a time saving skill when done properly.

The process looks something like this:

  1. What do you want to learn about or know how to do?
  2. Choose key words or phrases from above. These are your search words:
  3. Place these in the search engine such as,
  4. Perform the Search
  5. Use parameters to narrow your search. Google has some excellent tutorials and videos for learning how to use things like booleans to narrow and locate information quicker.
  6. Once you have the results, examine the site addresses to identify initial validity.
  7. It will also help you to narrow what you are looking for by understanding your learning style. If you know that you learn best through videos, narrow your search results by adding videos or use Google's toolbar on the left to search only videos. (How do you learn, videos, pictures or text? Podcasts? Discussion Boards, Blogs, Chats etc)
  8. Other tips to help narrow down what you are looking for include being able to identify and use the correct words. Google's Wonderwheel can greatly help this if you know the initial issues or topics you are interested in investigating, it can provide connections to other words or topics it is associated with.

Additional questions to ask yourself are:

  • What do you want to use or need the web tool for?
  • What part of the tool is the problem?
  • Where, when or how does the error or issue occur?
  • What words are associated with the tool or problem?

  • What can you see that causes you to think there's a problem?

    Where is it happening? How is it happening? When is it happening? Why is it happening?

    With whom is it happening? (HINT: Don't jump to "Who is causing the problem?" When we're stressed, blaming is often one of our first reactions. )
    From these questions, create keywords to clearly identify the problem for searching or describing to someone for help.

Site Validity or Information Literacy

Information literacy is about understanding the information you are consuming and knowing how to validate whether it is commercial, biased, truthful. Quickly being able to examine the search results to identify if it is valid and what you are looking for is a critical skill. Alan November's site provides great details on looking at how sites are categorized (.net, .com, .edu etc.) as well as how to identify who created the site.

Begin by

2. Learn the vocabulary (malware, spam)


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