In this module, we will focus on the use of technology for finding and curating content. We will share some tips on how to search for content, using various search tools, and how to select and store this content afterwards in order to use it in your teaching activity. Although this topic might be regarded as rather simple, the increasing flow of information and digital sources nowadays, has highlighted the importance of searching and selecting relevant information in an efficient way. In addition to collecting content we will also touch upon the topic of using Open Educational Resources (OER).
Searching the Internet
Searching the Internet is probably one of the most widespread activities among technology users. The Internet contains a huge amount of information and offers great opportunities for teaching and learning. However, we all know that we can be easily be overloaded by all this information and get lost trying to find what we searched for.
Luckily there are strategies that can help us finding our way through information overload.
Different search engines
While most of us will probably tend to use Google, it might be useful to know that several search engines exist (and are just as reliable as our favourite). The type of search engine you decide to use will depend on what you want to use it for, as they work in different ways. Here is a list you might want to check out:
If you have younger students, you might want to check these search engines that have been developed especially for them:
Kiddle - a kid safe visual search engine, that returns either sites and pages written specifically for kids, or safe, trusted sites that are not written specifically for kids, but have content written in a simple way, easy for kids to understand.
Kid Rex - a search engine for kids, made by kids, it emphasises kid-related webpages from across the entire web and screens and delete inappropriate content.
Whichever search engine you decide to go for, you might need to refine your (or your students) search strategies. First of all, one of the most difficult aspect in finding the right information and content is the ability to find the right question (or key words). As Susan Greenfield said: “In a world so rich in information and answers the most important skill for the learner is the ability to frame the question”.
Classroom activity: if you want to work with your students on how to improve their ability to find results on the Internet, you could try the following. Ask your students to work in pairs. Provide them with a specific topic to search for (this could be some specific aspects of the curricula you are going to cover in your next lesson, for instance). Before they access any technology, ask them to list different key words and search terms, so to have at least three different options for each pair. Once they are done, they can go on the search engine of their choice and try out the different options they had listed. Ask them to report on the best option and to to understand why this was the best option. As an extension, they could develop strategies to refine their search.
Read this article to see how you could help your students become better internet searchers, or look at these tips and tricks.
You can as well have a look at this video that shows you how to use Google at its best. Yes, we have to admit it: Google is indeed our favourite search engine.
Infographics have become a very useful visual tool for summarizing and presenting information. It is a good way to present information to your students. But it could also be prepared by students and in this way they can reach a more comprehensive understanding of the topic during the preparation process.
Picktochart is a very commonly used tool which one can use for free. Here is a short tutorial on how to use this tool.
Easel Ly is also an easy to use tool.
Select (and curate or store) content