Surfing the Net is part art and part science. But when is the best time to teach children how to use search engines? And how can teachers go about teaching the skill of Internet searching? Today, Education World writer Sherril Steele-Carlin explores those questions and others in this article just for you and your students! Included: Links to great search engine tutorials and techniques.
The Internet has immense potential for transforming the way students learn and the way teachers teach -- if everybody involved knows how to access the Web's awesome resources. Anyone can surf the Net -- but finding exactly what you're looking for takes an understanding of search engines and how they work.
Each search engine looks for information a little bit differently. One of the best ways to learn how to search effectively is to read the help files located on each search engine's Web site. Those help files explain how the engine looks for information on the Web, so surfers can search more effectively.
For example, Google offers Searching Tips. Surfwax offers How to Search. And Yahoo! has Search Files at Yahoo!, which answers the question "How exactly does Yahoo! Search work?"
JUMP IN! AT ANY AGE!
So, you're a second-grade teacher. Are you wondering whether it is too early for your students to learn the basics of surfing? Do you wonder when is the right time to teach kids to surf the Net?
"I have used search engines with students who have just 'graduated' from kindergarten and are ready to begin first grade ... that is the youngest," educator Tammy Payton told Education World. "Students need to be able to understand what print language represents, and those who are in kindergarten are mostly 'emergent' and don't have the understanding of symbol-sound representation. Students need to be old enough to understand that," said Payton.
"Communities and schools are concerned that the information students find on the Internet is relevant and appropriate for their age," added Payton. "Student supervision is a necessity, whatever tool students use to research information, but by using one of these suggested resources, students are more likely to find the best and most appropriate information for their topic."
When introducing students to any search engine, it is important to choose a topic that will interest your students. Choosing an age-appropriate subject will spur their curiosity and keep them looking for more information. Some teachers let students choose their own topics to ensure they will be interested in the process.
SEARCH ENGINES KEEP CHANGING!
Before you choose a search engine to use with your students, there is one more thing to remember: Search engines are constantly changing and evolving. That means they add new features and remove others. You need to stay current with the changes, or you'll find your lesson and your students' results might not be as targeted and comprehensive as time goes by. The best way to stay current with the trends and changes is to check Search Engine Watch, a monthly newsletter edited by Danny Sullivan. Sullivan is a searching pro who keeps up on all the latest engine news, trends, and revisions so you don't have to!
ONLINE SEARCH ENGINE LINKS AND RESOURCES
Learning how search engines work is the first step in searching the Web, but how do you teach your students to surf? Luckily, numerous online tutorials are available to help! You can find out more about teaching kids how to search the Internet with the following links and resources:
Article by Sherril Steele-Carlin
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