I enjoyed the Digital Classroom Conference on March 4 at Bettendorf, Iowa, High School that was presented by Jeff Utecht from Spokane, Washington. He had some great examples of how students are using the Internet to learn things on their own. He also reinforced my belief that schools are not doing enough to prepare students for the digital age. His ideas are valuable and trend-setting, so that’s why I’m getting off my couch to share them with my fellow teachers and parents. The best way to do this is on a blog, of course. (I just hope WordPress is not blocked at my school like Blogger and YouTube.)
Utecht emphasized the importance of teaching students “the skill of search.” He thinks Chrome is the best search engine, and “Wikipedia is more accurate than your textbook” simply because knowledge expands like never before in history. He suggested that we teach students to limit searches to only the sites that have been updated within the last three years. He suggested that adding “site:edu” or “site.gov” to search terms will yield more trusted web sites. To get a global perspective on a topic that is relevant to a region, students should add a country to the search. He suggested a search on “Vietnam war site:gov.vn” to see how Vietnam perceives what they call the “American War.” “Never before in education could you get a country’s perspective on a topic,” he said.
He wasn’t here to give us just search tips, however.
He continued his presentation with examples of how students can collaborate to create new knowledge with their hands-on research, mapping tools, and class notes. I’ll talk about digital communities next time.
Let’s interact. How do you help students improve their skills of search?