Searching Questions

July 30, 2009 § 2 Comments

Unit 1, Assessment Outcome 2 covers both internet and email. I am often surprised that ‘young people’ who are supposed to be digitally connected, don’t know how to find the information they need, more efficiently and accurately.

Almost all the students know and use ‘Google,’ but very few know more than the basic search engine facility. For example very few students know about or even use the wide range of instant search features such as time, weather, define, calculate or language or format. Even fewer use the ‘advanced’ features such as dates, usage rights or use of the * feature.

We currently set up webquests that introduce students to these Google operators and other search engines such as Quintura and Middlespot. Today I read about another little internet search gem, Microsofts Page Hunt.

If the query searched for is in the top five results, you get points – even better if your query brings back the exact page! 100 for #1. 90 for #2, 80 for #3 and so on. If you can get a page to display while avoiding frequently used queries, you also get bonus points, tidy. I think we will use it to encourage the students to think more carefully and appropriately about their search queries.

So what is in it for Microsoft? Its not all good will. In return Microsoft gets to see what words people would associate with certain pages which I am confident they will use to improve their search engines.

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§ 2 Responses to Searching Questions

  • Scott Hewitt says:

    Have you seen http://spezify.com? It is also a search engine but it displays the results in a different way. All of your results are posted as a big image cloud showing results from a range of sources – twitter, you tube, blogs, wikis. You can move around the page by dragging the mouse. The preferences section has a safe search and you can block results from certain sites.

    It might be really interesting to use with your scoring system.

    • Yes, I have Scott. I think it has some potential and I like the way it bring in multi-modial responses. Text, videos and so forth. In Unit 2 of the OCR Nationals, we cover search engines and we did add it to the list of search engines the students can try, as well as google, bing, middlespot, quintura.

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