Twelve Reasons to Teach Searching Techniques with Google Advanced Search… Even Before Using the Basic Search

Twelve Reasons to Teach Searching Techniques with Google Advanced Search… Even Before Using the Basic Search

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by Michael Gorman – Welcome to another post, one that I hope you will find valuable and will pass on to others. I think you will learn that when it comes to a search… Advanced really can be quite Basic! It is a pleasure to post and network with all of you here at November Learning. You can also follow me on twitter (mjgormans) and of course visit my 21centuryedtech Blog. Now, enjoy a visit designed to help you reflect on how students are being taught… or not taught to research!  Have a great week – Mike

I often present on the importance of Digital Immigrants (most teachers) facilitating Digital Natives (most k12 students)  in the use of digital technology. You see, I believe that while today’s digital natives have a affinity for using digital tools… they often do not have the life experiences to utilize these tools to their greatest potential. One example I would like to present to you today is the use of Google as a search engine. Since I am still in the classroom I am able to watch students perform various searches with Google. I have the opportunity to see what I claim is inefficient input resulting in a multitude of needless results from Google. Assisting our digital natives in the process of searching is something that all of us as digital immigrants can help with. We have the life experiences and educational background to help our students fine tune their digital skills and become more productive in research.

I would suggest that educators direct students towards the Google Advanced Search Engine even before using the Google Basic Search. In fact, I would further suggest that an Advanced Search be used until students understand how to use these advanced techniques in a Basic Search. Why? First, I do not see these skills as advanced techniques. I see them as a skill set necessary in finding information in a productive manner.  When  educators ask students to search and find information on the internet… it is not to just get the answer. It is to learn an important process that will serve them through future schooling and eventual careers. Let’s take a look at the Google Advanced Search Engine and see why it really should be a basic prerequisite!

Twelve Reasons To Teach Searching With Google Advanced Search

1. The Advanced Search teaches important syntax such as STRINGS, AND, NOT, and OR. In the first part of the Advanced Search as shown below students will learn the following:

All these words (above picture) allows the AND statement (AND is actually not needed in Google since it is inferred when multiple words are put in. This is an important concept since I have seen students many times needlessly type in the AND command. (Note that small words such as articles are omitted – a, the, of, an, as… etc).

This exact wording or phrase (above picture) allows words to be put together in a STRING. In this case Google will look for a string of words that must be together in a website. This is great when looking up an author, movie, quote, or for words that must be kept together (nuclear fission).

One or more of these words (above picture) allows the use of the ORcommand. This is valuable when a researcher wants to look for more than one word… but does not want to eliminate a page because all the words cannot be found in a specific page.

But don’t allow pages that have any of these unwanted words (above picture) allows for the NOT statement to be used.  This is very useful in eliminating unwanted words and results. Often called the NOT command and uses the (-) sign in a Google Basic search. An example would be looking for the country Turkey while eliminating results for the bird turkey.

2. The Advanced Search teaches about a search through its tip links. In the picture above I have selected the tip for using the (-) or NOT command. The tip explains how to use it in the basic search. This may be one of the best reasons to include the Advanced Search as a teaching tool.

3.  The Advanced Search teaches syntax by taking input and displaying how the search would look in a Basic Search (below picture). This is displayed at the top of the Advanced Search Page as the search words are typed in. Once again, students learn how the Basic Search should be structured. This reinforces the concept that proper input of search terms will increase efficiency and until students knows how to use the Basic Search effectively, they may be more productive in Advanced.

Note in the picture above that a search is being made for the phrase “one small step for man” outside of the  reference to Neil Armstrong. Notice that the top of the page allows the student to see how this would be built in a Google Basic search. This will apply to all of the techniques available in Google Advanced search.

4. The Advanced Search teaches how to search for pages in any language (below picture). What an awesome way for students to explore a foreign language they are studying or get primary resources on an event from the source country. This is actually an easier way to search than in the Basic. Even more importantly, students can then enter the website for translation. Translation is usually found at the top of the website, or one can use to translate. This is not integrated in the Basic Search Box.

5. The Advanced Search teaches how to do the search for alternate resources in an easy manner (below picture). Of course, the syntax is available at the top of the page for those wanting to try it next time in a Google Basic Search. Educators and students can find powerpoints, Google Earth files, spreadsheets, PDF files, Flash files, Word files, and even Autodesk files. Great for research and even better for teachers wishing to find some lesson plan material.

6. The Advanced Search teaches how to search inside of a website or domain (below picture). This can be useful for limiting a search to a  .gov, or possibly to a specific website such as, You will note that the Google Search at the top shows you how to put this in the Basic Search

To investigate four more reasons to teach with Google Advanced Search, click on the Date, usage rights, numeric range, and morelink on your Google Advanced Search Page.

Please note that only three of the filters below translate into a Google Basic Search. They include Where your keywords show up, Numeric range,and Important  links. The others are valuable and prove how important an Advanced Search can be because they provide great information and are easy to use in the Advanced Search.

7. Advanced Search teaches how to specify to return results according to date (below picture). This is very valuable for finding timely information. Students looking up a current event or breaking news story may want to use this feature. Remember, the default is (anytime). It is also a great way to emphasize whether currency of information is relevant to the research topic. This does not translate into the Google Basic Search Box.

8. Advanced search teaches how to specify a search related to a website’s usage rights (below picture). This is a gold mine for those wishing to use, share, modify, or remix information.  Also, it is  a great way to teach students about copyright and creative commons rights. It is important to observe the rules governing how an item may be shared, and to make students aware of this. This is especially helpful when searching for pictures in the Advanced Image Search

9. Advanced Search teaches how to specify to search for keywords in a specific place on a website (below picture). This is a tool that can be really useful in narrowing down results. First, the default is (Anywhere In Page).  This includes all the possibilities, but may actually be too broad in scope. When getting a large number of returns, one could narrow down returns by requesting that keywords be listed in title. This will narrow the search and possibly lead users to a more specific subject, since keywords in a title tend to emphasize content in an article. In the same way, URL and Links to a pagemay lead the researcher to more specific and relevant information This does display in the Google Basic Tool Box above so that one can see what it would look like in a Basic Search.

10.  Advanced Search teaches how to specify to find websites from various regions of the world (below picture). This is a great way to teach students about bias and regional differences. This part of the search engine allows the student to look up web pages published in a specific region or country. This technique is great for current evenst, allowing the searcher to get information from the country of origin. A teacher should encourage students to compare and contrast the same news story coming from two different areas or regions. Students can study a subject, such as the American Revolution, from a British, French, Russian, or United States perspective. What is Russia’s take on the Space Race,  Cuba’s thoughts on the Bay of Pigs, or China’s research on Global Warming?  This tool does not show up in the Basic Search Tool Box and is another reason to use the Advanced tools.

11. Advanced Search teaches one how to look up information in a numeric range (below picture). Perhaps a researcher wishes to search between a set number of years, such as 1800-1900. Specifying a dollar amount such as $250 – $500 or searching for a distance range 10 miles – 100 milescould be valuable in finding needed information. A student may even wish to look  up a range of page numbers. This will translate above in the Google Basic Search Box.

12. Advanced Search teaches how to find important  links and websites similar to one that was useful (below picture). This includes two useful tools. A user who really finds a particular site useful may want to enter that page’s URL into the Find Pages Similar To The Page line. This may lead to other sites that provide needed research information.Using the Find Pages That Link To The Page may also lead the user to other useful sites. This Link To The Page tool can also be used to evaluate a website by determining the number, and type of pages linking to it. In fact, I teach people to use Find Pages That Link To The Page when evaluating Web Pages using what I call  Good Links.  (Starting with a space before entering the address in the Find Pages That Link To The Page form  will yield different and sometimes better results). This will show up in the Google Basic Search Box.

Also be sure to check out both the safe search feature and the readability feature as both can be valuable for classroom use. As you can see the Google Advanced Search, used correctly, will  facilitate today’s digital natives to expand their digital abilities while promoting productivity and learning in the classroom. It’s you and I, the digital immigrants, who can make it happen!   Have a great week! – Mike


Part 1: Going Digital …Ten Points to Consider when Transforming Towards Digital Curriculum

Part 1: Going Digital …Ten Points to Consider when Transforming Towards Digital Curriculum

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By Michael Gorman – Everyone is talking about a digital curriculum free of  those hard copy textbooks that have been a part of schooling since the advent of the one room schoolhouse. In this series I will investigate some resources that can open up a world of digital curricula. In this post, I’ll start with ten thoughts for reflection as you go digital. In later posts, I will introduce you to some pretty cool content that can be part of your new digital curriculum. And yes… I even have textbooks covered!  Along with my posts at November Learning, you can also follow me on twitter (mjgormans) and of course visit my 21centuryed Blog. Now, enjoy a visit designed to help you reflect and plan the very future of curriculum as it goes digital. Have a great week – Mike

Note – If you will be traveling to MEC in Tempe Arizona or CUE in Palm Springs California this March 2011 please introduce yourself at one of my sessions. I  am making the trip from Indiana and will have two presentation at each conference.

As we venture into the world of the digital curriculum the security of a real textbook, an item we have all  held, grasped, and found comfort in, seems to be endangered. It’s true, the hard copy textbook as we have always known may soon be part of the good old school days of the past. As I reflect on this  I wonder at what point did the textbook become such a central part of the curriculum. I am an analog native (I think) and I remember the days of my first schooling in which the resource primarily used was the textbook! It was one of the few resources available in a classroom that had no television, phone, internet connection, computer or  interactive white board. There was an occasional Weekly Reader, an almost complete set of ten year old World Book Encyclopedias, an occasional filmstrip to make learning interesting, and  a once a month black and white 16 millimeter film that was most engaging when one could see the movie one more time shown backwards. Most content centered around the textbook which, depending on subject, could be brand new… or ten years old. In fact, in many of my classes there was no doubt that the textbook was the curriculum. I remember when I first started teaching over thirty years ago we were reluctant to  write curriculum until we set our eyes on the newly adopted textbook.

So… there you have my thoughts on why the textbook has become the center of curriculum and so very difficult to cast aside. As classrooms transform so must the old friend that accompanied us throughout our schooling and much of our teaching. This is not to say that many teachers didn’t venture outside the textbook for various projects, studies, readings, and adventures. I know that I often took the journey, but always realized that my old friend would be at my side… just in case!  As we slowly say goodbye to this old companion there must be several ideas we contemplate on our way to the digital curriculum. As we reflect and invite this digital transformation, I am sure we will find a curriculum that is alive, relevant, rich, engaging, rigorous, and timely. We may even find a new friend that will be there for us when we need a little textbook digital style!

There is no question that we need to take those steps towards a digital curriculum, after all we live in a digital world. As we begin to put that hard copy textbook in the recycle bin, we must all develop a better understanding of  digital curriculum and what we need as educators to make it a successful reality, a reality that promotes real student learning and achievement.  Allow me to share with you my ten thoughts on going digital.

10 Points To Consider When Transforming Toward Digital Curriculum

1. A digital curriculum requires schools to be  equipped with the necessary infrastructure and technology to deliver true digital content. This requires adequate bandwidth, wireless broadcasting, and necessary student and teacher personal technology. Do schools supply all of this technology or do we find ways to incorporate technology students already own?

2. A digital curriculum is much more than a textbook delivered electronically and disseminated through a Xerox job of thousands of copied PDF files. Adopting a digital textbook, whether it be commercial or open source, can only be part of the picture. Transforming to a digital curriculum demands utilizing a textbook as one entity, not the central piece.

3. A digital curriculum requires that thought be given to student access not just at school but in student homes and the general community. There must be deliberate actions set towards building bridges across the digital divide.

4. A digital curriculum requires sustained professional development that allows teachers to learn, collaborate and plan outside of the traditional textbook box. This includes participation in professional learning communities and webinars blended with ongoing professional development within the school or district. In other words, professional development must contain the very attributes sought in the digital curriculum being implemented for students.

5. A digital curriculum should contain a wide variety of resources and content allowing the teacher to plan engaging learning activities. The process of writing standards should be left at the national and state level. After all, most local standards are copied, pasted and possibly edited from the national and state standards. Teachers in the classroom must be given the time to plan learning and contribute activities that are part of an exciting curriculum.

6. A digital curriculum must open up the doors to not just student consumption of content but to student production. Activities must allow students to recreate, publish, remix, and innovate. This interactivity is the key to creating a digital curriculum that is powerful and effective. A digital curriculum allows the creation of a society of creators, innovators, and learners.

7. A digital curriculum should open up the classroom walls and allow for collaboration between classrooms, communities, and cultures. Additionally, online learning should create classrooms that are hybrid in nature, preparing students for avenues of learning found on the web and for their future schooling. Students must learn the online skills necessary to communicate, collaborate, and learn.

8. A digital curriculum must allow for nonlinear learning, differentiated instruction, backward/inverted teaching, as well as instructional components and ongoing assessment that will bring productivity to the classroom. New technologies are able to infuse these attributes into a digital curriculum resulting in  student engagement, learning and achievement.

9. A digital curriculum must allow for incorporation of innovative instruction such as STEM, PBL, and NETS technology standards. It is a  digital curriculum that has the ability to  finally deliver the aspirations of education reformers such as Piaget and Dewey.

10. A digital curriculum must allow students to be at the center of their education with the teacher actively facilitating and orchestrating real student learning.  Such a curriculum allows students to contribute and design outcomes. It gives students the necessary ”Drive” (Daniel Pink) to become actively involved and take charge of their education.

You probably thought I forgot about our old friend, the hard copy textbook. Actually, I didn’t.  I firmly believe that a digital curriculum will still provide access to a virtual textbook that will provide  content that can provide a foundation for necessary understanding. It will be available in a variety of formats to be read on tablet, iPod, Droid, laptop, desktop, or possibly a real piece of paper! As the virtual textbook matures it will become interactive, filled with engaging media, and will be nonlinear. It will remain a good friend… just not the center of the  new digital curriculum! As you continue your journey in the world of the 21st century you just may find that the old textbook really was never quite at the center of your curriculum anyway!

Join me in this continuing series of Going Digital. The next in the series will introduce you to an amazing resource that has free open source books you can remix, edit, and share with students in a variety of ways! Want to know what else is coming your way in future posts? Then take a look below!  In fact you can also give this article a retweet if you scroll to the bottom!  Thanks, until next time… start thinking of ways you can go digital.  Have a great week! – Mike


It’s True!: I Teach Because I Can’t Do Anything Else!

It’s True!: I Teach Because I Can’t Do Anything Else!

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By Michael Gorman – Welcome to my first posting at November Learning. It is a privilege and honor to be invited  to share with November Learning’s amazing readers and to join a group of engaging bloggers, ones whose works I have read and learned so much from! In my first posting, I would like to share an article I wrote this last year. It is my way of sharing my mission; a journey that embraces technology, transformation, and most of all, serves students.  I dedicate this  posting to a world of great educators who are in a constant quest to promote student centered learning and life long achievement. It includes those I’ve worked with in the past, those I share with every day in my learning community and network with across my school district, state, nation and world, plus those I am still waiting to meet and share with. I can’t forget those amazing educators I have had the privilege of presenting to and learning from at past BLC Conferences. If you have never been to one… it really is an amazing and transformational experience. Hope to see you at BLC 2011! Most of all, I wish for you to enjoy and share this reflection with others, for every moment allows us to continue our learning.  Please take a look at my 21stcenturyedtech Blog and  consider following me on twitter (mjgormans) and we can teach each other! Have a wonderful week! – Mike

It’ True!: I Teach Because I Can’t Do Anything Else!

Ok, so it’s true! I have spent thirty-three years teaching because I cannot do anything else! To be honest this is something I have recently learned, something I did not know when I  presented my very first classroom lesson! I actually  began my undergraduate career in the College of Business with an eye on marketing. In the early stages of my teaching career I became licensed to sell securities with the idea of becoming rich!  Little did I know that because I could only teach, I would find richness beyond monetary wealth! I dedicate this list of reasons to all of those great educators who teach because they cannot do anything else!

My List

I can’t be a banker or work in a financial business because, while I might enjoy counting money and seeing financial growth, I would rather count and measure the success of my students.

I can’t be a doctor or dentist because, while I enjoy seeing people smile as they leave and are healed, I get even more satisfaction if I see a smile when they first sit down.

I can’t be a professional athlete because, while I do enjoy competition, I get even more satisfaction coaching young people to play each game with honor, integrity, and respect.

I can’t be a computer programmer because, while creating new digital applications is exciting, finding ways to integrate technology to inspire real learning is rewarding.

I can’t work in agriculture or landscaping because, while supplying food and natural beauty is appreciated by all, I enjoy planting seeds of life-long learning knowing that it will nourish one’s life.

I can’t work as a cook or chef because, while I appreciate the art in a great meal, I most enjoy finding just the right ingredients that allow for a child’s success.

I can’t work in sales or marketing because even though I have learned from their great people skills, I would rather sell students on their abilities and possibilities.

I can’t be a pilot even though I appreciate them as I travel to new places, as I would rather facilitate young people as they climb in altitude and arrive at new destinations.

I can’t be an artist despite my appreciation for the beauty they bring , as I have found that my art is the ability to inspire and nurture children as they discover their innate abilities.

I can’t be a scientist or inventor because, while am aware of the great advances they bring, I wish to create  innovative learning experiences that always end in success.

I could go on and on! As you can see, I really do appreciate all of the other professions and realize there are so many more I can’t do. After all, as teachers we really are preparing students for what they will do best in the world. Possibly in the future those we teach will not be able to do anything else, because we have assisted them them in becoming the very best at what they do!  As I continue my journey I have expanded my teaching horizon and understand that genuine educators, whether they be teachers, administrators, or educational consultants, continue to teach and inspire others, because they really can’t do anything else.

Thanks for joining me on this exciting journey dedicated to learning in the 21st Century! Writing for November Learning is yet another exciting adventure!  I invite you to read my future postings here at November Learning. You will find that my writing is a  mixture of reflections and classroom practical ideas…  you see I also still teach. After all, I can’t do anything else! – Mike


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