My students have a habit of typing entire sentences into search engines, even Google (Ask Jeeves would be so proud). With that in mind, I set out to try to help them learn some tips for searching. I created this initial exercise. Most of the students did a nice job copying the questions into Google and hitting search. Their next task was to complete a reading focusing on the types of searches they were just asked to conduct, and followed up with this exercise which is almost identical to the first but asked them to utilize the search techniques addressed in the reading. Would you like to see the results? Many of them are posted here. I also asked my students to blog about the exercise. One of my students is really getting into blogging, you can read her thoughts about the exercise here.
I think I am going to incorporate an exercise like this into this spring’s classroom technology graduate class I teach for Saint Mary’s. Effective searching can help us all.