The Electric Educator: Teaching Search on the iPad

Monday, November 7, 2011

Teaching Search on the iPad

Despite the "magic" of the iPad, it has been difficult to find classroom applications that are easy to implement given the constraints of a 50 minute class period and the unpredictability of 25+ students, wireless connectivity issues, etc.  The 1:1 iPad program at my school has required creative thinking and realistic expectations.

One assignment that has great potential is using the iPad (or any other mobile web-connected device) to search the web. Searching is a skill that must students are ill equipped to do effectively. This is how most students search the internet:

1. Type in the exact question you are trying to answer. Typically this is copied directly off of a worksheet or some other class hand out. Little or no thought is given to the construction of the search query. Just type the question in the box.
2. Look at the first 1-4 results. If the answer isn't given in the snippet on the search page, then it probably isn't there. The average student will never scroll through search results and will certainly not visit page 2. Frequently the "answer" that is found is incorrect or inaccurate. Few students actually verify information by looking at a second or third source.
3. If the answer is not found, it's not on the internet.

The method described above is NOT effective. Searching is a critical thinking activity that requires students to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information. These are the higher-order thinking skills listed at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy. If searching is a critical thinking activity, why not incorporate it into your classroom? Here are some suggestions.

The presentation below was collaboratively built on the invitation of UK Educator Tom Barrett.

The presentation below was collaboratively built on the invitation of Blogger and EdTech Consultant Benjamin Friesen

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