Teaching Search Techniques with Google GamesPosted: June 11, 2007 | Author: hilary | Filed under: blog | Tags: games, search | 4 Comments »
Educators routinely discuss how students have trouble evaluating and using the results of their Google searches. There are really two parts to this problem, though, and while it’s true that students may struggle to identify reliable sources, before we can address that, we need to teach them how to write good queries.
It’s that old computer science maxim: Garbage In, Garbage Out.
I like to teach students how to write interesting queries by playing games. This games force students to think about the queries they are writing, and not the results. I have no scientific proof of the results, but I do know that it keeps them entertained and thinking for a while!
My favorite games:
- Google Whack – The classic! Find a two-word query, with no punctuation, that return one and only one result. The Google Whacks on the site would make great spam subect lines.
- Google Image Labeler – A game that Google created. You are matched up with a random partner, and together, presented with images. You guess labels for the image, and when you and your partner match, you get points and move onto the next image. Each round lasts two minutes.In addition to providing a tool for procrastination, this is one way for Google to automatically provide appropriate text labels to images. It gets the group thinking about how the search engines work!
- What’s more popular? With Google Trends! – Create small teams. They each get to pick a term, and compare the popularity using Google Trends. Teams pick words at the same time, and the team with the best two of three wins. You can optionally restrict the domain; for example, all guesses must be vegetables.
- Finally, Googlenope – Proposed by Gene Weingarten in today’s Washington Post, a Googlenope is a search term or phrase that does not exist on the web. Until you find it and write about it, that is!
If anyone has a favorite that I’ve missed, please comment!