Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Has Google Done Now?

Searching for information is a topic I touched on last week, with my post about skimming and scanning. Finding the exact information we want can be difficult and time-consuming, and especially so for kids. Search engines are a great way to find stuff on the net, but sometimes a search can bring too much information.

The good people from Google have come to the rescue. You can avoid ploughing through so many links by using some of Google's new tools.

First of all, do a search with Google. I put "frogs" into the search box and hit return. The following Google page brought me images and links, a jumble of information. But in the top left corner, there is now a hyperlink "Show options" under Google. When I clicked that, it added a sidebar to my results, offering some tools that helped me narrow my search. I can click video, forums or reviews and immediately locate only those hits for my search topic. The sidebar offers extra options to narrow my results even further eg I can specify 0-4 minute videos in the last 24 hours. "Related searches" gives me some extra search terms to try.

The one I think has the most potential for kids' learning is Wonder Wheel, a little further down in the left sidebar. This tool creates a word web or tag cloud about the search topic. With "frogs", it offered "frog food", "frogs life cycle", "tadpoles" etc, all linked and radiating out from the central "frogs". When I clicked on "tadpoles", it made another new word web, offering me "tadpoles life cycle" and "toad tadpoles" for instance. You can keep refining your search by clicking, until you find what you want.

Kids often have trouble developing their ideas about a research topic. Sometimes just generating keywords is difficult. Wonder Wheel suggests more specific concepts, and helps them narrow their focus.

If Google is indeed taking over the world, then I'm along for the ride. I just love Google and all the answers it brings me. Now those clever Googlies have brought new gifts - a boon for researchers young and old.

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  1. Dominique20 May, 2009

    It's great that it is now so easy to search for topic with Google Search. I use it very often to do my searched for work.

    Recent blog post: WW-My Little Helper

  2. bookchook20 May, 2009

    I agree, Dominique. And great for kids who need to expand on ideas for their research.

    Recent blog post: Review, Pobblebonks

  3. Google is a wonder tool, isn't it?

  4. bookchook25 May, 2009

    I'm a Google fan too, Rebecca!

    Recent blog post: What's the Deal with Online Publishing?


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