Google & Images

These are fun. The first, “Guess-the-Google” is a timed game that shows a collection of images and gives the viewer 20 seconds to

accurately guess what search term was entered to get the given results. Enter as many guesses as you are able in the 20 seconds. Fun and, potentially addicting.

The second is called “Montage-a-Google.” This webtool allows the user to create a photo collage from a Google image search. The images are hyperlinked to their sources. Users can download their montage if they like what they see.  At left is part of a Congress

 montage I created (it is a screenshot of one section). This could be useful to create things like podcast cover art or a customized image in a presentation. A teacher could also use it as a set on the screen, create a montage us
ing a key term from the homework assignment or current unit of study, then, as students enter the classroom, ask the question (like Guess-the-Google), “What term was searched for which gave these results?”

Important to

note, both require flash (sorry, no iPad option at this point)

Hats Off to the Cook

I admit, as I spend more and more time with my computer, the more I find I enjoy cooking. With that evolution, I was happy to see the new Google Recipe search. Using the Google search box, type in chicken tacos and after the results are in, the left sidebar will show “Recipes.” If “Recipes” is clicked, the user will be able to identify (or eliminate) ingredients, search by cook time (15, 30 and 60 minutes), and/or by calorie totals.

Foods and FACS teachers will find Google recipe search useful if looking for new recipes to add to the curriculum. It also provides students a great tool if they are asked to compare and contrast calorie counts and/or ingredients in similar recipes or if they are researching recipe options on their own. It is also helpful for anyone who is thinking, “I wonder what I could make for dinner tonight.”

Oh, and the easy chicken tacos I searched for, found and then made the other night were quite tasty if you’re looking for something new. 🙂

And we searched

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.

Teaching about searching

Our students do not seem to be very good searchers. I am not sure if it is because they haven’t learned to think in key word terms, think about synonyms, or if they are simply in a hurry. Our school is offering its first technology course in about 6 or maybe 7 years and our tech department has split up the instructing duties. While it is fun to be able to teach to personal strengths and interests, I find myself with a unit now that investigates the many aspects of Google. As our school “made the switch to Google” last spring, it is important for our students to understand the tools at their disposal, so the unit will explore Google docs, Picasa, Sites, Labs, and more, but we are starting with learning about the company of Google and then will move into searching.

I made this little activity for students to explore Google’s company history as an introduction and we will watch parts of CNBC’s Inside the Mind of Google today, but tomorrow I need to find a way to make searching and Google’s cool search features like site: searches and how to  exclude key words engaging and memorable. I have found several lesson plans from Google’s resources, but am not yet comfortable with a plan. Any ideas?