Tag Archives: search strategies

Topic 6 – Students and the web

Activity 1 – Planning for Web searching: Mind maps


a) Concept maps (or mind maps) are a very useful technique for students to use before they search the web. What is the best way to teach year 7 (1st year of secondary school) students to develop a concept/mind map?

  • need to model to the whole class first
  • allow pairs of students to create a mind map
  • individuals to create a mind map
  • tools I liked include bubbl.us and webspiration

I know that I’m going to get howled down – but here goes…in all my years of teaching I have NEVER been keen to use a mind map. Whenever I was shown how to do one at an inservice course or they would discuss the value, I would tune out – maybe I’m just not a visual learner. To me, it just appeared to be a waste of time. Brainstorming a whole bunch of words that we already knew – so what!

However…having read the literature and having a look at a few – I like bubbl.us and webspiration and kidspiration (I teach mostly K-6), I’m prepared to give it a go. What I like is the idea that you go back to your mind map throughout the various stages of your research project – it’s not something done in isolation.

b) Teaching students to develop their own questions before they search the Web is a very effective way of improving the pre-search planning which we want our students to do.  What is the best way to teach year 7 (1st year of secondary school) students to develop their own questions?

  • brainstorm lots of questions with the class
  • use the question formulation technique (Rothstein and Santana, 2011) to refine questions
  • encourage children to put the digital Bloom’s taxonomy app onto their iPhone/iPad etc. to refer to
  • use the Bloom’s taxonomy wheel to demonstrate to the students the different ways of thinking and creating as you become more engaged in the topic.

Activity 2 – Using effective search strategies

How can we convince students they need to create search strategies? Two suggestions in chapter 6 are getting students to brainstorm the term search strategy and asking students, in groups, to develop a concept map on How to be a good Web searcher. What do you think of these ideas? What other ways can TLs encourage students to develop search strategies?

  • encourage students to use more than one search engine
  • show the students the difference between an advanced and basic search
  • show students how to use ?dinosaurs?/AND/NOT/BUT eg. boolify
  • use specific search engines for students/teachers eg. KidSearch2

Activity 3 – Reading for information

What are the best ways to teach students to be critical readers (i.e. not just users) of websites? What should we be advising students to look for on websites e.g. the difference between opinion and evidence based information?

  • showing students some of the hoax websites and demonstrating how easy it is to believe what’s there – even the drop bear site which is embedded in a quality site
  • discussing with students the usefulness of evaluation websites and having a journal of which ones they have already been to
  • convincing students of the usefulness of note taking and citing as they go along

This is a hard area for students as research shows that most students are impulsive and impatient when it comes to finding information on the web.

Activity 4 – Reflecting on web use

How can we teach our students to be reflective web learners? What should students be asking themselves after they have completed web searches? How can we encourage students to learn from their own searching?

Students need to ask themselves: –

  • Could I have been more efficient in my search?
  • Are there better ways that I could have conducted my search?
  • Did I slow down enough to evaluate the site correctly?

We can encourage students to learn from their own searching by giving them time to think about it and discuss it as a class – most students do want to be better and more efficient.

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