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From a guest post by Penny Russell @digitaldaisies
Here are some more ways of using Google Advanced Search for smarter searching.
Advanced search is helpful if you have a number of parameters you want to limit your search by, and can’t find Mark’s handy searching post. Advanced search becomes available once you’ve typed in your search term. You can access it either by clicking on the gear top right of the page and choosing Advanced Search, or by looking at the bottom of the page and choosing the link.
You can also access many of the advanced search tools by clicking on ‘search tools’ directly underneath the search bar and choosing from the drop down menus. Most useful are probably the date range filter and the reading level filter. Have a play with the other options to see what helps reduce your search results to the useful ones.
The date range will return pages updated or posted within the range you’ve chosen. This could be really useful where you want to find out up to date information, and eliminate all those confusing ‘don’t know when it was posted’ results you get with a more unfocused search.
The reading levels filter can also be useful. Roughly speaking, “Basic” is secondary school level texts, while “Intermediate” is anything above that level up to technical and scholarly articles. They are a bit hit and miss, but can help weed out those articles that are definitely out of the range of your students. ‘Annotate results with reading levels’ is probably most useful initially. Click on the reading level to filter the results once you can see how many of each there are. This filter is also available in the ‘All Results’ drop down menu.
You can also use Advanced Search to filter by region – useful if you want UK only results for example. You can choose any region from the Advanced Search page, or the drop down menu will give you UK results only as a choice.
Sites with images
It’s not entirely clear what this does, apart from if you select it you get a different selection of websites from an ordinary search and one with more pictures on. I’m going to try it with my weaker readers and see if it returns results which are less ‘wordy’.
Some handy keyboard shortcuts to help with searching
As well as these Google search tips here are a couple of related shortcuts which can help your online searching. Here they are for PC, but generally work the same on a Mac clicking command instead of ctrl.
Ctrl and +/- allows you to zoom in or out on the webpage.
Ctrl and L selects the address bar and everything in it – very useful.
Ctrl and Tab cycles through all of the web pages you have open. (command + ` on a Mac)
And finally…. Using the search bar for quick conversions
Mark has already explained how you can use the search bar to get definitions + do calculations. You can also use it to do:
Conversions of measurements – x in y + enter in the search bar – gives the conversion. E.g. 10 kg in pounds gives 22.0462lbs. There are drop down menus next to each of the choices once you have performed one conversion which allow you to change all of the elements. So you can complete temperature conversions, distance, and even work out how many nanoseconds in an hour (although that depends on the meeting you’re in!)
You can also complete currency conversions – x currency in y + enter in the search bar gives the currency conversion. E.g £20 in USD gives $32.51 – also useful on holiday if you have an overseas dataplan.
Hope that helps. Leave a comment if you have any other tips, or you’re clear what ‘sites with images’ does exactly!
By Penny Russell @digitaldaisies
A reflection by Independent Thinking associate, former Teacher of the Year and tech-for-learning guru David Miller
In June this year I was asked to go to Clevedon School near Bristol (home of the Lazy Teacher Jim Smith) to help launch their ambitious and pioneering experiment to see whether iPads, as mobile learning devices, can expand the learning of students and the creativity of teachers.
I arrived at Clevedon with a number of questions that I hoped would be answered during my stay. Would iPads improve the learning experience for the young people at Clevedon? Would teachers feel confident using a technology that was unfamiliar, not only its practical uses, but in its pedagogical potential? Would the technology get in the way of good old-fashioned learning and teaching, or would learning be enhanced? Would pupils simply be in thrall to the device and lose sight of their learning objectives? Or indeed, would they think ‘Not another piece of tech we’ve got to get used to …?’
The days afforded a wonderful opportunity to work across a variety of Year Groups in a range of subjects: Yr12 – Media; Yr12 – Psychology; Yr8 – Design Technology; Yr7 and Yr9 – Food Technology; Yr8 – Physical Education; Yr9 – English.
The very first two periods provided a vivid illustration of how quickly the iPad can become a nimble learning device. Meeting their Media teacher, a group of Sixth Formers were provided with iPads and a short brief to create an advert for any product associated with the school. And that was it; off they went! Within the space of one and a half hours, each pair of students had come up with a finished film using the recording capabilities of iPad 2 and the iMovie app. The films were then shared, analysed, assessed, uploaded … So much learning was achieved. And quite literally, learning went on beyond the classroom: communication, selection, collaboration, critical thinking, creative thinking … all going on within the corridors, social areas, playing fields of the school … The classroom became a reflection room for the learning achieved beyond its walls!
Next up, Psychology, again with Sixth Form. iPads were handed out and students were directed to the Mind Mapping app – iThoughtsHD. The task – familiarise yourselves with the software and then create a mindmap on ‘Conformity’ within the Social Psychology component of the course. Again, what was fascinating was how quickly the young people got to grips with the technology. Within an hour they had created quite wonderful mindmaps incorporating photographs of hand drawn illustrations, photographs of visual metaphors (downloaded or iPad taken), links to external sites of relevance. The technology was almost transparent. It was merely facilitating deep learning – not only of the psychological area under discussion, but also the associated learning and thinking skills.
The Design Technology and Food Technology classes, which finished the day, followed a similar pattern. Although younger year groups, the technology was incorporated seamlessly into the learning environment. Full classes of Year 8 and Year 9 respectively had one iPad with which to work. Two students were designated to capture the learning in the mechanics of Cams (DT – KS3) and the making of soup (Ftech – KS3) using the film recording capacity of the iPad 2. Within both classes, what was captured (and then edited into a iMovie film) was a superb collection of the various processes involved. Each pupil, being at different stages, was able to contribute to whole learning ‘picture’. In future lessons these short ‘process captures’ will be analysed, shared, evaluated, peer assessed …
The second day at Clevedon saw me working with classes in Food Tech, English and PE. The day started, however, with House Dragons’ Den Yogurt Competition. In each of these learning (and social learning) contexts, the transparency and ease of use of the iPad was marked. The Food Technology class (KS3) used the same approach as the Yr8 and 9 classes the day before – capturing processes and reflections of students as they went about their baking. Again, an array of food preparation techniques was captured, students quickly getting to grips both with the recording facilities and the iMovie app for editing the clips together into short films. The PE class saw the iPads taken on to the playing fields to record the various techniques of students learning about Discus throwing. One iPad captured a variety of students participating in their learning. Again the opportunities for capture, analysis, evaluation, assessment, comment, discussion … were huge.
With the English class which followed a number of iPads were distributed to allow small groups of pupils to work on their discursive writing using mind-mapping and ComicLife. Again, the teacher was able to concentrate on the learning rather than the technology; the pupils became self-directed in getting to grips quickly with unfamiliar software and then adapting it to the learning objectives set by the teacher. Pupils, although relatively low ability, were engaged and focussed throughout the lesson.
So much learned; so much yet to learn.
It seems clear that the possibilities for iPad integration in learning are highly significant. Not only can they, through interactive learning strategies, deepen and widen creative and critical thinking, they can also, through their ease of capture and sharing, add to a school’s vibrancy and sense of community. There are huge benefits not only in terms of student engagement but also in the cost savings in eBooks (which can themselves become highly interactive themselves …). There are also significant possibilities for eased administration and data management.
The Senior Management Team at Clevedon are to be commended for taking the bull by its digital horns. Rather than endless discussions about whether and what types of mobile technologies to explore, they have seized the moment and accepted that the ways in which young people learn have broadened out to include tools that are powerful and accessible.
Clevedon’s iPad initiative will not be a flash in the pan. There is a sustained commitment to interactive and assistive technologies – to educational innovation. As a corollary, there is also an ongoing commitment to staff development. Types of training might include: the iPad as a learning and teaching tool; WEB2.0 applications – screencasting, podcasting, wikis, Google docs and other collaborative tools; multimedia resources such as iMovie; Apps – uses and abuses; screen-reading applications; games-based learning (GBL) … The discovery of new modes of course delivery should breath new life and excitement into learning.
Guest blog post by @gavinsmart
Tim Rylands seminar at the SWGFL conference was a truly invigorating, inspiring and engaging journey through a range of ideas to use ICT in the classroom to inspire the learners and to make the learning journey more engaging, enjoyable and most importantly inspiring. The seminar focused on a range of Web2 tools and software (most of it FREE), hand-held devices, games and more.
The seminar started virtually the day before with a request from @timrylands for anybody attending to bring a smart phone lighter. All will come apparent later on.
This set a little bit of awe and wonder about the treats that may be in store for the enthusiastic and optimistic delegates who had been waiting all day for the last of the seminar sessions. So much excitement boiled over at one stage when @ICTEvangelist rushed to the front of the seminar room to proudly occupy the front row. After a slight delay (due to technical difficulties) the seminar kicked off. I can honestly say that good (outstanding) things come to those who wait!
Tim started with an excellent but amazing under estimated use of ICT, a blog with all the links to every website that he used in his presentation! Gone are the days of pen and paper, especially at an ICT conference. The delegates were equipped with (virtual) lighters and iPads ready to be enthused.
Tim stressed that ‘Fascination is a tool that can be easily neglected. This digital world, when mixed with the analogue, brings such potential for communication.’
‘Technology is not the only answer… but, it does open up some remarkable opportunities, to extend teaching and learning styles.’
This feeling towards the potential that technology in the classroom has was shared by all delegates and all left inspired, enthusiastic and landed back at school the following day clutching a number of new exciting ways to inspire learners.
All of the websites, apps and other uses of ICT that Tim demonstrated can be viewed at http://bit.ly/world2me - a few highlights include:
Isle of tune
A range of avatar makers
Online Mind Mapping and Brainstorming – MindMeister
For creating your own worlds
For online video editing
Many more can be seen at Tim’s blog. Overall an inspiring seminar, which left the delegates, excited about returning to school!
You can find out more about Tim Rylands at @timrylands and also his website www.timrylands.com where you can also follow links to his blog, where some pictures of the delegates with enjoyment written all over their faces can be seen.
A guest post by @gavinsmart