Posted by: Kris Woods | January 19, 2008

Online searching: Reflections on MediA 21 @ TMS

This week there has been a discussion on the GeorgiaMedia listserv about how to present the debate between using databases and search engines in “teen-speak.”  This is a perennial problem.  Students seem to naturally gravitate to the search engines or world-wide connected wiki for their research information.  This is after instruction in use of the databases.  Brian Collier devised an apt analogy:

  • Google is like flipping the stations on your car radio and hoping a good song is playing.
  • A database is like cueing up the song you want on your iPod.

At the county media meeting this week, Rebecca Amerson (WHS) and Patricia Gilman (EHS) presented on information search strategies, specifically using search engines.  They emphasized three search strategies:

  1. Narrowing a search focus by use site:domain (e.g. site:edu)
  2. Use phrase searching (e.g. “Great Depression”)
  3. Use + – in search

These strategies can be practiced while playing the “The Google Game” (I found this link using the strategies: site:slj google game – it was the first hit).

I created a flyer for teachers to post in their rooms concerning this debate along with some advice to include database searching in inquiry-based projects.  This has sparked some conversations, which is the hoped for outcome.


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