Why Word Order Matters When You Search!

The word order of a search matters in today’s connected world, so 21st Century learners of all ages should understand how search results change when a user rearranges the words. A short video on word order, uploaded by Google’s Search Anthropologist Daniel Russell – check out his Search-Research blog – teaches this lesson effectively.

Use this less-than-two-minute video, featured some months ago in a blog post at Free Technology for Teachers, as a quick and succinct teaching tool with students, parents, and other educators.

Spell Check Your Spell Checker!

spellcheck spell checker2Spring vacations are just about finished for 2014, so now it’s time to think about staying challenged and strong for the last few months of school.

One aspect of completing a school year is to pay special attention to writing and editing while completing assignments and projects. And an important part of editing is searching for misspelled words using two steps.

In spell-check, step one, a computer program or website, runs through a person’s prose,  identifies the mis-spelled words, and offers the writer options for correcting, changing or leaving a word alone. These days many programs and sites spell check as a person writes, but that is no excuse for not going through the editing process.

The second, more challenging step — and perhaps the bigger responsibility — requires a writer to follow-up the spell checker, searching for errors that the automated process may have missed. Many of the remaining errors are not technically mistakes. Instead they are correctly spelled words that the writer typed by accident (or with the help of auto-word completion) or misused homonyms — accurately spelled but used incorrectly.  So the spell checker missed these words.                 Continue reading

Action Words that Describe Digital World Learning

digital-citizenship Can we teach pre-adolescents and teens to reflect on what’s happening as they use digital world tools and  interact with online content? Can we help them understand more about what they are doing when they work and play online?

Educators often provide a checklist or rubric for students to use as they work on assignments or projects. A rubric usually contains editing specifications, project requirements, resource documentation, and expectations — all for students to consider while completing the work.

Now I’ve discovered that Mia MacMeekin over at the An Ethical Island blog offers what I think of as a digital learning graphical rubric. The easy-to-understand graphic features World Wide Web nouns and action verbs that describe the ways people  encounter, process, and use online information. MacMeekin thinks of her infographic as a digital citizenship tool, but it’s much more than that. The chart offers educators with opportunities to ask questions as they teach, and more importantly, expect students to answer them.          Continue reading

The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL): Changing the World One Book at a Time

What if our children had instant access to a library with thousands of books from countries all over the world — a place that invited them to drop by, read, and learn about one another (without any driving)? Imagine what they could find out about the world’s cultures, celebrations, languages, differences, and also about what they have in common  with all these other people and places!

That just about describes the mission of the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL), a World Wide Web destination hosted at the University of Maryland. The massive website includes digitized books in 61 languages, and it’s the largest online collection of multicultural children’s literature with a mission to the promote the love of reading AND the love of diversity. The books are beautiful filled with colorful and detailed illustrations — you almost feel like you are holding an old-fashioned book!

By clicking on the animated Read Books! icon in the middle of the ICDL home page readers, young and old, are off and reading. The multi-cultural aspect comes from interacting with books that are read and languages spoken by children in 42 other countries as well as seeing pictures by artists from around the world.      Continue reading