15 Ways to Use Google Search in Class

Written by Lisa 25 May 2011 No Comment

Sure… you know about Google Search.  But are you using it effectively and creatively in your classroom?  I just completed a course called Search with Google inside of the Teacher Learning Community and it gave me some real-life, practical examples of how I might use this in a classroom setting.  

Here are 15 ways to use Google Search in your classroom…
(When you’re done reading, add what #16+ to the list in comments and register for our FREE Google webinar!)

1. Teach Current Events
Looking for a good way to find current events that deal with topics your students are interested in? Use Google News Search to canvass the Internet for topics on local news, popular sports, and kid-related topics that will spark your students’ curiosity.

2. Play a Map Game
Here’s a game you can play as an entire class. Divide your students into groups if necessary so that each group has access to a computer. Give each group a list of five historical landmarks around the world, and have them find and print aerial photographs of the landmarks on their list. Judge the winner based on the speed and accuracy with which they found their items.

3. Enhance Your Study of History
Use pictures to make your study of historical characters more exciting and memorable for your students. Use Google Image Search to find images of the people, places, and events you are studying, and incorporate these images into your lessons.

4. Create a Customized iGoogle Home Page
You and your students can work together using iGoogle to create a home page for your classroom computers that presents information pertinent to your students’ interests and the topics you are studying. You can also include tips about healthy living, mind-challenging puzzles, and a word-of-the-day to expand your students’ vocabularies.

5. Use Gmail Accounts
Create a Gmail account that will help you and your colleagues keep in touch. You can communicate teaching techniques, assignments, and school activities, and you’ll be able to read and send e-mail from any computer that has Internet access.

6. Use the Google Apps Calendar
Help your students stay organized by maintaining an online assignment calendar using Google Apps. Your students can plan their homework time more effectively and view assignments that they may have missed when absent from class.

7. Use Picasa to Create a Class Photo Album
Use Google’s Picasa application to create a class photo album commemorating a field trip, a project, or just a wonderful year together! Add frames, effects, and comments to your pictures. Publish the album on an internal Web site for the whole school to enjoy, or burn it to a CD as a memento for the children.

8. Use Google Groups to Help Students Around the World to Save Energy
As a class project, have your students create a Google Group on their efforts to save energy in their school and at their homes. Each student can post their ideas to the Group. Invite participation from other classes and other schools. See how wide a network of conserving students you can build!

9. Use Google Translate to Supplement the Study of Different Countries
When studying different countries and cultures, you and your students can use Google Translate to learn common phrases in that country’s language. Available languages include Greek, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Dutch, and Korean.

10. Use Google Blog Search
Use Google Blog Search to find blogs on starting a school newspaper. Get tips, techniques, and advice that will help you and your students start your own newspaper.


11. Use Google Book Search to Find Books on Cosmology

When your students are studying the structure of the universe, Google Book Search can help them find sources to use in learning more about the subject and preparing reports and presentations. You can structure this as a class project by assigning groups of students to find a source and present it to the rest of the class.


12. Use Google Scholar to Stay Current

You can use Google Scholar to stay abreast of developments in the field of education and in your specific subjects. Find the lastest developments in learning theory, cognitive development, and effective instruction. Learn about all of the latest advancements and discoveries in the sciences.

13. Use Advanced Search in Google
Use Advanced Search features to teach your students about good search practices. Ask English students look for Web sites about the Bronte sisters, for instance. Have them search for “Bronte,” then duplicate the search by including or even excluding the authors’ first names. Talk about the results and use them as an example of how to get the best results for a search.


14. Search Web Sites in Other Languages

In Spanish class, set your Google search language preferences to Spanish, then ask members of the class to search for current events Web sites, read an article to the class, and perhaps even lead a discussion (in Spanish) about the content of the article.


15. Change SafeSearch Preferences

Although schools are required to protect students from inappropriate Internet content, it doesn’t mean that this will be applied at home. Before assigning an Internet search students need to complete at home, help parents by sending or posting the directions for changing Google’s SafeSearch filtering to “strict” to help prevent inappropriate sites, language, or images from being displayed in the search results.

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