''Note'': Meetings 5 and 6 are about searching. The ideal implementation of this idea will fit with research happening in another course. You can then use the material from the other class to inform all of the examples you use in this class. It might also inspire different freewrites and homework assignments.
I'm looking for something. It's probably on the web. How do I find it?
be able to identify keywords and phrases for a search
differentiate sponsored links from "authentic" results
When is the last time you had to search for something on the web?
The resulting conversation should flow right into your instructions for the day's activities.
Most search engines are not http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_language_processing Natural Language Processors. They try to intuit what you are looking for by analyzing your input for patterns, keywords, and commands. Anything you can do to be more specific will help this along. Prepare a few search topics in advance of class relevant to events in your community. Definitely try them out a few times to make sure you aren't going to be too surprised by what pops up in class. Model the process by which you would travel from a question to a list of keywords. Question: ''How many dogs live at the White House?'' Keywords: dogs, white, house, president, pets, bush, george, how, many Break the class up into groups and give each group a slip of paper with a question on it. Circulate as the groups brainstorm keywords. (2 min)
Call attention back to the front of the room. The best keywords will fit certain criteria:
Anticipating your answer
What does it mean to anticipate your answer? You should know the form that your answer will take. Try to imagine what the page containing your answer will look like. What words would likely be on there? Now have the groups arrange their keywords from best (most specific, unique) to worst. (2 min)
Sometimes, we will want to combine multiple words, e.g. White and House. To do this, we can create a keyphrase by enclosing them with double-quotes, "White House." Keyphrases are particularly useful in these cases,
Proper nouns (Names, Titles)
Familiar phrases (Lyrics)
Can you think of more? Do any groups have keyphrases?
Creating a query
There is an elegance to composing a query or a search string as Google's algorithm regularly changes. Sometimes you have to massage it to find what you want.
Order your keywords in importance, left-to-right
Try repeating a keyword multiple times
Always repeat your search with multiple queries to stir up the results
Give each group time to craft a few search queries. (3 min) Have them gather around ONE machine and try them out. Ask them to stay on the results page.
Use magnified examples on the overhead to break down the anatomy of a search result.
What is IN a result?
Wait… what IS a sponsored link?
Teach a friend or family member how do sharpen their search skills. Compose a paragraph or two on the blog about the experience. Which techniques did you share? What did they find difficult? What was easy? Do you think they will continue to use the skills you shared with them?