We are a group of educators who for the past 7 months did an extensive research about on-line research and the education world. According to studies most students (and teachers) have difficulty conducting an efficient on-line research and most do not understand how Google or other search engines work.

Students, well versed in IM and SN (Social Networking) stumble when they conduct on-line research.

Even with technology many teachers still use the web in isolation. Teachers find great links that... stay on their computer, on their own website or their own blog.

So a group of us, educators, would like things to change.
We dream of a search engine that is unique to the education community with searches that produce text, video, audio results at the same time, where both commercial and school created material is accessible and monitored (we have a whole plan), where the resources will be identified, contributed and monitored by educators in phase one and Middle School / High School students in phase two. A search engine that it's content will grow by the education community. and we want Google to be a part of it, to work with us to develop it and provide the technology.

But, we need librarians, teachers and students to talk about the day-to-day difficulties of navigating the web. We need educators to speak up so we can show that there is a real need not just plain statistics.

We imagine a search tool that will allow you to search within sites created by teachers, ability to rate sites / review, ability to search by "author" (person contributing links) , connection to Google Maps and much more.

If you feel the same way please go to our blog to look at comments and votes. While there, please take a vote and leave a comment to have your voice and opinion heard. http://cangooglehearus.blogspot.com/

Together we can make a difference

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Hi Dorit

Interesting posting and interesting idea.

It turns out, Google have been listening and there are THREE Google tools that meet SOME of your needs as they stand now in the early stages.

Google Custom Search
Google Site Search
Google Base

Each of these tools address some of what you discuss in your posting and it seems Custom Search will do all but one or two of the things your describe. As I see it, the only thing it doesn't have the ability to do is rate the websites, and possibly not to add maps (although there are Google Gadgets that you could add to help with maps at least).

However, everything else (a search engine unique to the education community, searches that produce text, video, audio results at the same time, both commercial and school created material is accessible and monitored) AND you can create your own communities to help build a search engine as big as you want. You can invite people to contribute, and specify exactly what is viewable within your custom search.

The limits are literally defined by the creator (s) and Custom Searches can include websites, video, audio, etc.

Take a look.

The other two, Site Search and Base, are equally interesting, and definitely worth a look as add-ons for what you might want to do.

Site Search is very cool because it will literally search within ANY website for specific content, keywords etc, and give you links to the direct pages where that content is housed. VERY cool.

Hope this helps

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your wonderful post. True, the tools you had mentioned are great. Now, let’s imagine (loved the Beatles) a search engine that will search through educators’ custom search engines, blogs, wikis and more if an educators chooses to add them to that search engine. For example, you create a wiki with resources. You will need to add it to that search engine and categorize it (based on a template), add other information and upload it. Your Wiki resources is now added to the new search engine. How do teachers / students find your Wiki?
1. using key words they look for certain resources, based on your categories your Wiki shows up
2. A teacher work in NYC and is interested in resources that are related to NYC standards so S/he click on Google Maps (keywords are the same) the results are now coming from people who contributed material from NYC
3. A student looks at reviews and your links are top rated

Currently, with Google Custom Search, which is a great tool you invite other people but most of the time only you and the people you share it with use it or know about its existence.

Google Site Search – Wonderful tool that I see on many sites

Google Base – Interesting with different search options in addition to keyword (something we think the education specific search engine should definitely have)

The tool we imagine has still not been invented it is a hybrid between a search engine and a wiki.
Then, the question is, how are you suggesting people will find all the resources you want them to find in the first place?

If you create a wiki. google "site" a google webpage, or even a regular webpage, you can include one or all of the 3 suggestions I made above.

You are going to have to get the word out to people somehow right? If everyone is used to going to Google (which they are) how will they know from the search box to find your specific set of resources? They type it in and if you are indexed properly, you will show up. You'll have to submit a site index and Google will do the rest.

With Custom Search you get the ability to share with anyone and with Google Webmaster Central / Tools, you get to improve traffic to your site (s) and custom search.

if you have suggestions for them you should post them HERE

I really think (apart from the ratings) you can do what you need to already.
“You are going to have to get the word out to people somehow right? If everyone is used to going to Google (which they are) how will they know from the search box to find your specific set of resources?” - This is why we would like to work with Google and for Google to work with us. They gain we gain.

Currently when you search on Google unless you are proficient at online research or understand how Google works, you get many links that are not related to your search. Our idea is geared towards students and teachers that are not necessarily web savvy as we are and the classroom 20 community. On our blog you will see posts from "average Joe". We think of the teachers that will not use the custom search engine to create their own custom search engine but will be happy to be able to access more resources without having to “dig” for those resources.

Currently the process is that you gather links you like and share it with your students and colleagues, what if you could have shared it on a larger scale? Currently it would be extremely difficult for an individual to find your custom search engine without knowing about it.

Thanks for your link to the Google Custom Search - - Interesting posts.
We would like to hear from people, before we approach Google. We feel there is a need that is real, beyond what the statistics and studies.
Google Scholar, designed for graduate students and researchers, has had a huge impact in the way that information is shared and accessed in higher education. Your proposal, it seems to me, would have the same profound influence in our often troubled K-12 education system.

Keep it up!

By the way, I reposted your article with brief bookends on my blog. Hope it helps!
Hi Eric,
Thank you for your post. I am humbled by the comparison to Google Scholar. I truly hope together we will make a difference. THANKS for spreading the word.

Working as a technology staff developer for the past 7 years in NYC the reality of technology integration, specifically online research and the understanding of information literacy is frightening. Teachers here and there create custom search engines, wiki’s, class site or handout a list of sites. However many teachers allow students to open a laptop and research…go to the computer and research…with no guidance or direction other than the topic students need to find information about. To deal with too much information they sometimes just give one! link. I am not blaming them. Lack of time, lack of resources, lack of knowledge, lack of motivation, lack of understanding, testing and more get in the way.

I believe we need a transition from where we are now to where we want to be. Many teachers have little knowledge about online research. Young teachers might have never been taught and older teacher didn’t have these tools growing up. The more I speak with people and educators the more I understand that many self teach themselves at best. Many just are not sure what to do. They Google and use the first 2-3 links. Students growing up with the online environment as their main research tool told me that online research is either extremely frustrating (they get lost, too much information, no direction) or find it really easy – you Google it - go to the first 2 or three links because they are the best….

We already have search engines but non that was designed with us for our needs.

If we have a search engine that is unique to the education world; where links to content are added by teachers and students for our education community we achieve the followings. First, the education world acknowledges we need help with this one. The online environment is changing the way we conduct research – we will take the time to learn and understand it to be able to use it wisely. Second, we create a safe research tool where links to sites with wrong and misleading information will not be uploaded. In the real world, books with misleading information are never available for kids in physical libraries but are just a click away. Third, we dream of having a comprehensive multi-media information literacy curriculum so students, teachers and everyone who is interested can understand the online research.



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