Blog Post How To Technology

Leveraging Google Search

February 20, 2011

I learned quite a few things today that I didn’t know about Google search. Google is constantly changing and adding new features to all of there product lines. Today we are going to focus on a couple of cool things that will help you leverage your search results and use Google Search as a teaching tool. Let’s take a look!

Wonder Wheel– Wonder wheel is a way to display search results in a “Spider Web Style” and narrow down search results in a graphical way. To get started type your search into Google, scroll down and click “Wonder Wheel”

You will now see a web with different subtopic’s that deal with your main topic on the left. On the right you will see search results that deal with your original topic. Click on a subtopic and your web will narrow down and your search results will also narrow.

How could you use this in the classroom?

  1. Teach students how to search, show them how the results change by  narrowing down what you search for.
  2. Speaches- are your students choosing a very broad topic to present on? Use the “Wonder Wheel” to narrow down topics.
  3. Brainstorming research topics.
  4. Differentiating instruction- this gives you a visual representation of data or a topic that you are working on.

Timeline– Google Timeline Search takes the data that you are searching for and places it in a timeline that you can narrow down just like the “Wonder Wheel”. To get started, type in your search on Google, scroll down and click “timeline”.

When you click on timeline, you will see a chart with dates and blue bars.

The size of the bars is the increase in news and data that occurred that year. Clicking on a bar will narrow down your search results.

Below the bar you will see search results by date.

Advanced Search– Google’s “Advanced Search” allows you to make educated searches in order to find the information that you truly need instead of a barrage of information that you don’t need. Google advanced search can be accessed by clicking “Advanced Search”You will now see a page with several different drop down boxes.

The three things that I have circled are the key points of using Google Advanced Search. Lets take a look at these options.

  1. “This Exact Word Or Phrase” this alone will help you only get exactly what you are looking for on Google. This helps to get rid of some of the “Noise” that we sometimes see while searching on Google. This really helps to narrow down what you are searching for and only get quality results.
  2. “Reading Level” how many times have you been searching for resources for classes and you think to yourself my first graders are not going to need to know that “Other important legislation involved two measures to raise revenues for the Federal government: tariffs (a policy with long precedent), and a new Federal income tax. “ (Wikipedia) but they would find intrest in a presidential matching game: Reading level search allows you to do just that. Narrow down your search by the reading level. Now you will be able to have just the information that is relevant to what you are teaching. Another option you have is to “Annotate results with reading levels ” which will not narrow down your searches but instead just show you what level the content is.
  3. “Filetype Search” why reinvent the wheel? There are so many great resources out there that people have already created. Example: if we type in Science Jeopardy and the filetype to .ppt (Powerpoint) we will get results that are only powerpoints that have to do with “Science Jeopardy” Heres what we find:premade, already created ripe for the picking! This is great to find lesson plans and course content!

Search From Other Countries- sometimes you may be doing an article for a current event that is taking place in another country. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could see what they are seeing when they look for news? Well you can! Lets say there is something happening in Jordan and you task your students to gain information from the locals perspective. Head over to (Don’t be scared when you see Arabic) on the top of the page you have the option to translate pages. Type in “News” and you will see the news from the local news sources:This is a lesson in it self 🙂 Country codes can be found here.

Don’t foret to check out my other article about the “Google News Timeline“. Also a very cool tool.

If you have any other cool Google Tips please feel free to comment or tweet me @tjhouston.