Monday, October 7, 2013

Build Language Skills Through Search

I am often asked for resources for clinicians working with older students. The relative scarcity of tech-based material for middle and high schoolers, particularly apps with relevant and age-appropriate content, has even been termed "the app gap." When working with older students, it pays to be creative and even more focused on the contexts they struggle with every day in the classroom.

I have previously mentioned here that "search is language." Conducting an Internet search involves selection of key vocabulary words, reading comprehension, zooming in on main ideas, summarizing and narrative, as well as inference, not to mention executive function skills such as time management. Search also prepares students for real life management of information. Luckily, Google has set up some great lessons for these skills, so we don't need to struggle to figure out what to ask kids to search for (beyond naturalistic opportunities to do so).

Navigate to Google Search Education and you can access both "Search Literacy Lesson Plans" and "A Google A Day Challenges." The lesson plans target skills such as search terms, understanding results, and evaluating credibility, at three different levels.  The challenges, which won't be too hard with your scaffolding, come with a slide deck including hints and the "answer" (so don't show students slides 5-6) until you are ready!

These resources work well both on laptops and in the Safari or Chrome apps on iPad.

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