What Do Your Students Know About Google? Part 2

Advanced Search under “Search

Picking up where I left off on my last post, What Do Your Students Know About Google, Jennifer Brinson toured Google’s main menu features. Let’s continue with NEWS. If you are, for example, researching STEM cells, you have the option to create an ADVANCED NEWS SEARCH. The benefits: your results are significantly narrowed with many additional drill down menus to find what you really need. This feature lets students (or teachers) confine their searches to germane information on specific sites.

Narrow search terms and source specifics

For example,  you can decide to search all words or an exact phrase, or a phrase with at least one of the words, or without the words. Your search will sort by relevance with the date, newest or oldest first, as well as with duplicates included. What I like about an advanced search is customizing where I search. I can select a creditable source by name, country or state, and where in the location of a source that information might appear. A nifty search feature.

Patti Duncan, STEM Institute Guru

Or, if you really want an in-depth look at STEM cell research, you could visit the Discovery Educator Network’s Siemens STEM Academy, where a wealth of resourceswebinars, blogs, reflections, photos, the Institute, and teaching and learning–continues daily. DEN Guru Patti Duncan oversees this excellent science resource, is the organizer of the STEM Institute, and the primary blogger for the STEM Academy. If you have not yet joined the DEN and you have an interest in or teach science, you want to become a STAR and you must join the STEM Academy. You can follow the Siemens STEM Academy on Facebook. Click the Like button and add this site to your Page Favorites. Then you will receive automatically wall post feeds that keep you posted on this fabulous science resource.

Free but with some limitations

Exploring the more features, Brinson focused on the economic savings future college students could derive from using GOOGLE BOOKS. Although you do not have the ability to manipulate your text with your Academic Literacy toolkit skills like highlighting, marginal and sticky notes, what you lose in talking to the text you gain in money in your wallet.

True customization w/o changing email accounts

What I LOVE about Google Books (other than free) is my ability to create multiple libraries without changing my email, unlike my Shelfari account, where each new shelf for my 4 blogs requires a new email anchor. Google Books lets me sort my books into categories: Reviewed, Favorites, Reading Now, To Read, Have Read. Nice feature for someone who likes being organized.  I also like the ADVANCED BOOK SEARCH, but for me, the ultimate drawback to Google Books is the lack of embeddable code. So I have these libraries but I cannot add them to my blogs. And because of this minus, authors cannot contact me through my libraries as they can via my shelfs (Shelfari), so I have fewer requests for book reviews from people in the industry. But then, perhaps that could be a plus, since I am behind on two requested reviews. If I could impact Google’s decisions, I’d tell them to take this great feature to the next level with embeddable code and the ability to download on a Nook or Kindle. On the plus side, I can read from my WMD (wireless mobile device).

Seamless ongoing research sent to your Gmail account!

GOOGLE SCHOLAR is in beta (like many apps in Labs), but it is a great tool for serious academic research. You can select what you want to search, determine from what year forward in the anytime drop down menu, and select your citation options. And like all Google tools, you can create an ADVANCED SCHOLAR SEARCH. What I love about Scholar is the email alert feature you can opt to create. When a new article is added to the internet, that posting will appear in your Gmail account. Seamless integration. Great ongoing research sources. Google putting everything you need for classroom tools in one place. Love it.

Blogs may be blocked in your district?

GOOGLE BLOGS enables you to search postings to blogs and from having used this feature at home (most blogs are blocked in most school districts), it is yet another great research tool. What you will pull in your search is blogs of substance on your topic search. Should you choose to use this feature with your students, it can become a great homework research assignment. In our school district, if we want a particular blog unblocked because of its academic utility, we can ask our Instructional Coaches to request unblocking of specific url sites. What I like about this tool is the ability to control the timeline of your searching.

Add a GA for your name or topics of interest

GOOGLE ALERTS is simply something I would not live without and heartily encouraged all my students to create for their name. Why? Because you want to know if someone is writing about you. Google Alerts will send you a notice either to your feed or G/mail every time your name pops up on the Internet. Brinson told our students that GA is a great way to keep track of some of the bad things that can happen when you have a digital footprint. She used herself as an example. While most of the times her GA lets her know that I have posted something about her, she noted that another Jennifer Brinson was arrested in the South, clearly not her, but good to know if your name is reasonably common. What I like about this application is the ability to send alerts on multiple topic I follow, without having to sort through my Google Reader.

Google Reader sends topics of interest to your feed or G/mail

GOOGLE READER is a tool I cannot live without, and although I have used other feeds in the past, again the beauty of GR is everything in one place. When folks at Google decided to own the Internet, they clearly developed apps with the idea of one-stop warehousing. As you can see, I have over 1000 items I have not yet read, but I’ll get to it. And if I do not, I can skim and scan, doing a fast browse for highlights and then delete. You can play with setting different views for your Reader, and add and delete subscriptions as you choose. Again, academically speaking, GR is a great way to aggregate research, unless you prefer Diigo (I use both to different ends in the classroom).

When I began this post, I had every intention of finishing the Google series in this installment. However, look to a third post that focuses on Google Labs. Coming soon.

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