In a digital world where there is more information available to our students than ever before, the ability to sort the wheat from the chaff is arguably one of the most important skills we can teach. While most students use Google daily and feel very confident in its simple one field interface, many of its most powerful features are hidden just below the surface.
Access: No signup required
A Quick Look
1. Using ‘Search tools’
‘Search tools’ is a great place to start when sharing more advanced searching techniques with students. I find that even a basic understanding of search tools can really improve the quality and relevance of the results students return. Have your students make their search and then click the ‘Search tools’ button directly below below the search bar. From here students will be able to filter their results by location (best for local results), time (useful for finding recent or newsworthy information) and hide or show results they may have already visited (very useful).
2. Finding the right image
Image search is a deceptively useful feature of the Google search algorithm. I actually find it a great place to start searching with students as the visual results can really help put things into perspective quickly, rather than a page full of text and links. It can also be especially useful if students have a specific idea in mind, but are struggling to put it into a search string (recipes, places, people, animals, etc.). And don’t forget the ‘Search tools’ can again help refine results based on image size, color, etc. as well as the ‘amazing’ ability to drop images into the search field to find visually similar results.
3. Google advanced search
The Google Advanced Search page is a much more involved search interface than Google’s default. It has numerous fields to refine and tweak student searches and is an excellent stepping stone before students start using advanced search operators. Try setting Google Advanced Search page as as your class default homepage for a short period to encourage students to be more particular with their searches.
4. Search by voice
Have you noticed that little microphone hiding in the Google Search field? It’s quite subtle but many believe it will be the future of search. Encourage your students to try searching with their voice, not only is it a fun and engaging activity, it will also allow them to see just how ‘human’ our computers have become. This can also be a meaningful activity in conjunction with mobile devices, where voice search is becoming more and more common.
5. A Google a day
Lastly, it’s time to put students search skills to the test and have a bit of fun. A Google a day poses your students with a variety of very random questions they must use their Google Search expertise to solve. With a timer, points, hints and clues, A Google a day is an excellent way to practice and improve overall search skills.
Links and Next Steps
- Lesson Plans & Activities – Classroom resources created by Google
- Google Advanced Search – Page for detailed Google Search
- Punctuation, symbols & operators in search – Google search strings
- A Google a day – Search game to develop search skills
- Twelve Reasons To Teach Searching Techniques With Google Advanced Search
- 5 Google Image Search Lessons to Try With Your Class
- 11 Google search tips and tricks – Video (6 min)
- How to Use Google Search More Effectively – Infographic
- Help Students Find Credible Sources using Google Scholar
- Hack Tricks: Google Search – Video (1 min)