Search deymystified ~ with a little steam punk

Finding and evaluating information is a critical digital/information literacy skill~ perhaps more important than ever in 2010.

But researching is a learned skill, not something you’re born with. And while some people might be predisposed to learn things more easily than others, it’s generally not enough to make a measurable difference. By learning how to research, you can quickly and fairly easily become knowledgeable about just about anything.

Admirable sentiments from  How to Find Anything Online: Become an Internet Research Expert. Actually the article has some interesting links to pursue – but misses a critical point altogether that was picked up so cleverly in Too Fantastique to be True:  Story of what looks like a wonderful ‘steam punk’ musical instrument.

The claim is that the musical instrument is built mainly from John Deere machine parts and took over 13,000 hours to build, tune and perfect. The email, however, which most people simply forward, contains great clues for investigative searching:

Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory
Sharon Wick School of Engineering
Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall
University of Iowa

Fact Check: copy and paste any of the first three into a search query. Your students may find this an interesting challenge. The video is one of many similar animations first produced, not as a hoax, by Animusic.

Helping students to learn to search effectively includes demystifying the search and evaluation process. No, it’s not a good idea to start with Wikipedia then move to Google without having some quality mental filters in place at the start of that journey!

Information Literacy to the rescue!

The 21st Century Information Fluency team provide 50 learning games that teach how to locate and evaluate digital information.

There are literally truckloads of resources to support information literacy, including Resource Kits, Articles, Podcasts, Videos, Assessment Articles, Tutorial Games, Curriculum Connections, Annotated Web Resources.

Our Australian students should be introduced to lots of good resources to trawl for information beyond those mentioned if they are genuinely going to be internet search experts.

A good place to start is the  National Library of Australia search portal. Welcome to Trove!