How to find information quickly via social media
This section is specifically for those teachers who have had little engagement in the use of the internet and offers guidance to basic concepts of searching the internet.
In this chapter we will reflect on the following topics:
- how to search for information generated by users
- how to search for relevant information using various search engines
- how to optimise your use of websites
The most common form of information is text or written content. If you want to find what content is available to you, type in a particular term or phrase that you need into a search engine and you can find links to thousands of websites.
The world's most popular search engine is Google Google which is able to scan pages in any language and find even the smallest pieces of information. Google is however not the only source of information and although it may appear that everything is presented from around the world, his is not necessarily the case. Google has its favourites; sites that have paid to appear nearer the top of a search page or are simply so popular that they appear near the top due to footfall.
Nowadays, everybody uses it, due to a lot of advantages critical arguments. Most of these arguments are connected to the fact that Google is a commercial company - and you do not pay for their services - at least not in cash money, so Google is depending on other ways of financing. Please keep that in mind when using search engines.
Another suitable search engine is Bing. This engine is widespread in the USA, but it is almost the same as Google, in some ways maybe even better.
To find some information you can also use the free and open online encyclopedia Wikipedia. There are millions of pages of different things on any topic. Nowadays, Wikipedia is an integral part of many student's lives. It helps to elaborate any type of term papers, assignments, speeches, etc...
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The advantage of Wikipedia is that the information is collected by many different users from many different sites. So information can be uploaded and improved by anyone. And students can also participate in the creation of this online encyclopedia.
Details downloaded in the form of videos can be found on YouTube. Thousands of people visit this page when a written manual isn't good enough for their needs.
Twitter is used for purpose and it has almost the same purpose as Facebook. However, there is the difference that it is particularly widespread in English speaking countries. Twitter is the most popular medium in the USA but it is slowly introduced to other countries. There is various information on events, foundations, political events around the world or some favourite celebrities.
Other MP3 formatted sources are not quite as widespread, but some do exist such as iTunesU and Podcasts on Google Play or App Store. There are many books in audio format. Transmission of information by this method is not as widespread as people prefer to percieve a graphic form of information, but there is such a possibility.
The matter of searching information on the web in a classroom should be framed in such a way so that the users can understand the system of a correct enquiry into a full-text finder. They should understand the words "description" and "keywords" used in HTML.
They should understand the function of a finder and the indexation of dates in finding databases. They should be able to create information on the Internet and eventually to insert into already existing databases or encyclopedias according to the type of information.
Conducting a project
The students can conduct a project with the help of social media (Wiki, Blog, Youtube, Twitter etc.) in form of cooperative work. They contribute to an article by seeking and adding information about the topic, and then they compare this collective work with each other’s original ideas.
English lessons and other school subjects can be varied by students' own presentations prepared as homework - the students seek information about English speaking countries - the basic facts, pictures of attractive places etc.
Teachers can insert information into a database by themselves (for instance Moodle) and create extended systems of available information on the school web that is needed for teaching of particular subjects. They can also use the possibility of accessibility of digital learning materials to present other pieces of knowledge on school website, eventually other studies on world encyclopedias.
Information Seeking Strategies
- Determine the range of available information sources (brainstorm)
- Select the best sources (evaluate the different possible sources to determine priorities).
Helpful questions for teachers to think of:
- Which resources are available (Twitter, Youtube, Wiki, Facebook, Flickr, Blogger, Smartphone)?
- Which tools do we want to introduce?
Helpful questions for students to think about:
- What are all the possible sources for finding this information?
- Which of the possible sources are best for me to use?
Hints: Encourage listing all possible sources (Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Flickr, Blogger etc.). Distinguish between primary sources (eyewitness, experiment, observation, original work, historic document) and secondary sources on social media. Discuss the source regarding its possible content and reliability. Consider the value of information from each source and its accuracy, authority, availability, ease of use.