I remember years ago when the Internet was much younger (and so was I) and Yahoo was all the rage, I came across this new search engine called Google. I began encouraging students to use it because, as I described it to them, “it just thinks like I do”. The students agreed that it did in fact think like they did too. I have become a little frustrated with it as it changes so quickly and I have to keep updating my Google search tutorials (and by the way thank you for the info on the Google advance search cog – I had thought that a quick an easy advanced search for Powerpoints, without having to remember the search terms was lost to me forever) but it still is one fantastic search engine. Whereas I have found Bing on the other hand to be too Americanised, and more likely to pull up sites such as wisegeek and about.com that are not authoritative enough for our research purposes.
I liked instagrok for younger students and the searches seemed very contained.
FindingDulcinea and Sweetsearch are two search engines that I strongly encourage our students to use when researching. A term such as Ancient Egypt or Kokoda Trail for example will have valuable sites for assignments, Google on the other hand will have a great deal of sites advertising tours to these places or Travel Agents writing “authoritatively” about the place. Finding Dulcinea does have three different search tabs “This site”, “Selected sites and “Entire web” and defaults to search results from “This site”. Both of these features confuses students who do not use the search engine often enough to remember to click through the tabs.
For all student assignments I try and find two or three websites per topic to get them started. We are currently doing Middle Ages in Year 9 Science so I have headed to the BBC History site This site incorporates the “old school” authoritative, accurate information with the transforming powers of modern technology, archival video clips, primary sources etc at our fingertips. Although journalism has taken a big hit with the recent phone hacking scandals, I still believe that organisations, such as BBC, do provide valuable authoritative journalism.
I’ve often added keywords to library catalogues to make resources more user friendly – how many people say poultry these days instead of chooks? – tagging just comes naturally to me. Being someone who likes lots of visuals I really like the tag cloud though.