Monday, June 25, 2012

Upping the Google Game

Librarians have long used the Google Game to teach web searching.  So long in fact, it's actually a problem if you use the search examples from the articles, because students start finding  links to the articles themselves, rather than the results they need.

Google just made that a little easier. I stumbled across this today and thought "Wow! That would be so fun to do with the kids!" Google took trivial pursuit and added, well, Google, setting a new search challenge each day, and making it social if you share on Google+.

Here's their promotional video, which explains it a bit more.

Today's search was pretty darned easy.  I only had to use 3 search terms from the actual question to find the answer in about 5 seconds (the longer time in the screen shot is because I was going back and forth between Google and this blog post).  But it was still pretty interesting, because who knew that sad tears have different chemicals--and an opiate?  No wonder you feel better after a good cry!  One hopes that as students keep playing, the searches would get more challenging.   They also offer a gadget for your iGoogle page, so you don't have to search for it each day.

You could incorporate this into your usual lessons, or run it as an ongoing contest/challenge, which could be really fun.  I may do that next year, though since I'll be in China, which blocks Google of course, that may not play out!

On another note (and as long as I'm sharing resources!) I also ran across Compfight, a great search engine that searches Flickr creative commons. You can do that within Flickr of course, and the Creative Commons  search engine, but this looks a little less daunting, and is actually easier than searching in Flickr itself.

Once you type in your search term and get the results, in the bar on the left, just click on creative commons. How easy is that?

I've always found searching Flickr itself less than optimally intuitive. 

More importantly, it could be confusing for students (it certainly was for me!), because when I clicked on the pop up menu next to the search toolbar, it actually listed "The Commons" as an option for searching.  I thought "Hey!  They finally added that!"   But here are my results when I searched with that filter.
Blecch!  I had to go into Advanced Search, choose "Everyone's Uploads," then scroll down and select Creative Commons>licensed for re-use to get the results I needed.

I think it's important students know how to do that, but I'll also show them Compfight as an alternative.

Though I have to ask:  Compfight??  What does that name have to do with anything?

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