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Search Tips and Tricks Every 21ST Century Teacher Should Be Aware of

I have recently bought 16 books all having to do with ' teaching with technology' , as a part of my preparation for my master thesis which is about " The Pedagogical Implications of The Use of Emerging Technologies in Education". Today as I have finished reading one of these books called Net Smart: How to Thrive Online I deem it very important that I share with you some interesting ideas it contained.


I am very much impressed by the diligent  work and hard efforts  Howard Rheingold has invested  into this chef-d-oeuvre. He has brought to surface some very important facts that every 21st century should know about especially when using technology and social networking for educational purposes. Topics such as cyber-sociality, massive collaboration, crowd souring, cooperation, and learning literacy have all been tackled in such a professional way that will definitely help teachers and educators deeply understand what it takes to be a net smart.

Howard has extensively talked about five important literacies throughout his book . They  are :  Crap Detection, Attention, Collaboration, Participation , and Network Smarts. The comprehension of these literacies is detrimental to any  sound and effective professional development , hence, the importance of summarizing and sharing with you these ideas.

It is beyond the scope of this post to cover all the of them  here therefore we will content ourselves with one literacy  and leave the others for the coming posts.


Crap Detection : An Important Skill for the 21st Century Teachers

"Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him " ( Earnest Hemingway, 1965 Page 77 ).Crap Detection according to Howard involves the ability  to find what you need to know and to decide if it is true or not. This is a very important skill that we should develop and teach our students to learn. We are living in a digital world where we are bombarded by all kinds of information and unless we master the art of sifting the good from the bad we will , definitely, fall victims to  misinformation and information load. Here are some ideas to help you activate your crap detectors as stated in Net Smart: How to Thrive Online  page 248 :

  • When searching, think about what words might be on the page you seek; think about possible answers when posing the question. Add terms like " how to ", or " critique" to find instruction or alternative views.
  • Don't stop with one search if you are learning about a topic and not just looking for the nearest pizza parlor. Regard search as a process of investigation. Sometimes instead of searching to find, search to discover.
  • Look at the third, fourth, and fifth pages of search results. Formulate new searches based on the terms you find  in relevant snippets from previous searches.
  • Understand that it is up to you to determine whether the result of your search or material you find online in any other way is accurate, inaccurate, or intentionally misleading.
  • Start out skeptical, and then by " thinking like a detective", verify information for yourself
  • Look for an author and search for the authors name. Use Whois and other tools to look behind the surface of a web site.
  • Look for sources if a site makes assertions. Find out what others say about it.
  • Use the search term " http://..." ( with your URL in place of the ellipses ) to see every link to a specified page.
  • Learn to make rapid micro decisions about whether to pay attention to information at all, open a browser tab for later, and bookmark and / or curate it. Start out deliberately, weighing the potential distraction against the goals you have decided on, and work to make the decision-making process more automatic.

Tomorrow I will post about Attention. Stay tuned.

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