The 'Search' Story

13th January 2014
8.00 A.M

The  festival of Lohri,I hope, has brought a lot of good cheer for all .

 Marking the exit of the Sun from Dhanu rashi (Sagittarius) and entry into Makar rashi(Capricorn) tomorrow i.e on Makar Sankranti, the festival of Lohri is also a precursor and a celebration of the longer days ahead.Thinking of my inability to recall perfectly even some of the songs,stories or other cultural connotations associated with the two festivals,brings me back to the importance of Google and Smart Searching in our and our children's lives.

So I am back with some tips for smart net searching which I have used and some,which I have compiled.

  • Make your child understand that there are lots of ways to reach the same information.So demonstrating the same search, from search engines other than google (like Bing, Ask,Yahoo) yields a host of additional information.Reason being that different search engines work differently.
  • Children can waste too much time chasing irrelevant, incorrect or wrong links.Make them recognize strings attached to links  leading not to the research topic but to advertisers. Links labelled sponsored usually appear on top of the search page list. Point these out to children.
  • Initially, help children choose the  most precise words .
  • Show them how adding more words can narrow the search. For example : Search results  for Lohri and Lohri History are different.
  • Use synonyms -Sometimes if children can't find something they are looking for (yes,difficult to imagine in this google age but, it does happen!) make them try keywords which mean the same or are related.
  • Make children think critically about search results and the information yielded.Our aim is first to find information and then organise it.Let children write a sentence about what each link yielded and then how do those facts link.
  • Check your browser's safe search search settings .Typing the most innocent of keywords also sometimes leads to search results you don't want your kids to see.
I hope my readers will forgive me for mentioning most of those things which are seemingly obvious common sense. My only excuse is that I  have too often felt so frustratingly helpless on interacting with  children of all ages regarding the above that I just had to do my bit towards changing the situation.

Hopefully we can look forward to original work from our children with some effort from us.
I can hear  many of my fellow educators sigh and say Amen to that !

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