Is Google your best friend or your worst enemy?

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It has long been discussed whether Google should be considered trustworthy or not. Teachers question the validity of some of the information it displays and if it is the best search engine for students to use.

According to an article on Edtechmagazine.com, about 60% of US teachers believe that online resources make it harder for students to differentiate between credible sources and non credible ones.  However the author of the article respond that teachers should become aware of a function that Google offers them; an online course on power searching!

The videos are there to help Google users make the best use out of the resource. More than giving out videos, the people of Google also provide handy sheets that can be of use to all users.

On that convenient reference sheet, I noted that by simply adding a minus sign after the word we are researching we can avoid getting unnecessary information. The contrary also applies. If we add a plus we get a broader range of information.

Other techniques involve adding an asterisk symbol for Google to fill in the blank for you. Users can also change the settings so Google filters the massive amount of information better.

According to CBC news, many students relies solely on web based search engines for finding pertinent information while working on an essay or a project. A study published in 2010 prove that most students take little consideration regarding whether their source is credible or not. In their observation study, the authors discovered that out of the 102 freshmen students they picked many admitted never verifying if the author of the article they used was credible or not. To base their analysis, they let the student mark themselves on a scale of 5. Their findings made people realise that the average was around 2.8 out of 5.

This article made me feel very uneasy as I feel like I can easily relate to this situation. I will be the first to admit that I rarely do I double-check my sources to ensure their validity. However, as a future teacher, I am able to positively influence younger minds. As such, if facing the dilemma of students not verifying their sources I will now be able to suggest them tricks and tools that could facilitate their search on web-based research engines.

I think teacher should be aware of the Google power researching videos and techniques as it will enable them to stop critize Google so much and offer them ideas for their students to increase their chances of finding significant sources

For more information visit:

http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2013/01/can-google-help-students-master-art-online-search

http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/course/ps/assets/PowerSearchingQuickReference.pdf

http://www.google.com/help/features.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2010/07/27/google-student-usage-study.html

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