Research Skills - the art of Google

Technology required:
1) Computer and Projector for Teacher.
2) Web enabled device for each student.

Websites:
Contained within this lesson plan and online at
www.efutureproject.eu

Overview:
In this lesson students will have received an overview of the services which Google has to offer.

This will include an introduction of how to use Google more productively when it comes to studying and researching; how to use Google Scholar; how to use Google Docs (both individually and collaboratively) and how to use various other Google products (These are either negotiable with the students or subject to individual Teacher preferences.).

Outcomes:
At the end of this lesson students will have

  • an overview of the various products that Google has to offer and how to access them.
  • an understanding of how to use Google’s search features to best effect - and why they should want to.
  • an understanding of how to use Google Scholar for academic research.
  • an understanding of how to find reliable sources of information on the web
  • an understanding of how to use Google Docs and document sharing/collaboration features.
  • obtained a Google account for their ongoing work and personal use.

Assessment:
Students will be required to upload onto Google Docs a 200 word essay on how to use Google and other search engines appropriately. The essay will include 3 screen shots giving examples of good methods and will be reviewed by peers.
Students will all contribute to a group Google Doc. on a subject set by the teacher.

Learning Questions

  • How do Search Engines work?
  • What are the deep power of search - from patents to libraries
  • What else can Google do for me?
  • How can I make best use of available tools?

Resources and information for teachers
This lesson should last around two hours.

The class is full of possibilities, you are unlikely to be able to cover them all. Thus, for the class to be successful you will need to consider the aims, levels and capabilities of your students and cater the content accordingly. We give a general guide to structure and content below - but there are too many possibilities and potentials with the Google Suite for us to go into full detail of each. We have made suggestions of topics to cover and tools to use but teachers will have to decide for themselves, depending on their specific requirements.
TIP. You will find some great resources within this chapter and on www.efutureproject.eu

Lesson body

  • Google - introduction
  • The art of search
  • Search as a tool in education
  • Search as a tool for employment

Google’s mission is to organise the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

TIP. The best introduction to the world of Google and the services it presents is to visit the Google Corporate Information Centre at http://www.google.co.uk/about/corporate/company/.

Google Search Engine: How does it work and why do I need to know?
As a student: Being able to use the power of the Google Search engine will increase the efficiency and appropriateness of any student’s searching and thus make their work easier and more authoritative.

As a jobseeker or employee: Using Google’s search engine can be a useful tool when looking for work (finding jobs, researching companies, accessing industry news etc.) and can make a better employee (e.g. who understands the marketplace and influences on their business or using the search engine to research skill tutorials etc.).

Google has produced a complete set of lesson plans and resources for teaching search engine usage (from basic to advanced), simply access http://www.google.com/educators/p_websearch.html and use any of the resources there for your own class. These are broken down into:

  • Module A: Understanding Search Engines
  • Module B: Web Search Technique and Strategies
  • Module C: Google Web Search Features

Once you have worked through your selected lesson modules students will have gained a broad understanding of search, it’s refinements and its direct usefulness to them in their studies or employment prospects.

Google Books: Your Library in Your Hand
Google books is an amazing resource for research and learning and is accessible to all users:

“In addition to helping him track down trustworthy academic sources, Google Books enables Maas to search within these materials to identify the specific information he needs. Using the ‘My Library’ feature, he can build his own online collection of books, and then search only within the collection, saving the time he would have spent narrowing search results from a broader query.”
Student voice

“As a chemistry teacher I try to take my classes to the “computer classrooms” or to the computers in the school library several times a month. My students have found Google Book Search to be especially valuable in reducing research time and in broadening sources for research far beyond our school’s library. Frankly, I don’t see how students would be able to complete research assignments without Google’s great tool. The secondary school research paper has entered a new era where the cost of access to reference books has all but disappeared.”
Teacher voice

Find out about Google Books at http://books.google.com/googlebooks/about.html

Google Docs
There are a hundred thousand ways to use Google Docs in your classroom - too many for us to list them all here. Fortunately, there are also thousands of resources waiting on the web for you to use in your classroom practice.

As a starting point, here’s three great videos that describe classroom uses for Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets - take some inspiration from what they’re doing!

These give you just a flavour of straightforward Google Docs applications. If you want to look at exemplars of using Google Docs collaboratively try; Teach Collaborative Revision with Google Docs at http://www.google.com/educators/weeklyreader.html

You’ll also find the accompanying documentation extremely useful, including; a step-by-step tutorial at http://www.google.com/educators/learning_materials/WR_cribsheet.pdf. The educator’s guide to teaching revision with Google Docs at http://www.google.com/educators/learning_materials/WR_guide.pdf

As we said before, there are a huge number of uses for Google Docs and the accompanying office suite - how about 20 Google Doc templates for Science and Maths Teaching at http://www.teachscienceandmath.com/2010/09/24/20-google-doc-templates-fo...

Or, Ten Google Forms for the Classroom at http://tbarrett.edublogs.org/2008/08/23/10-google-forms-for-the-classroom/

Tip: You’ll find more resources - and can contribute your own - on www.efutureproject.eu