Can your students search the internet effectively and safely?

chromebook-kids2One of the most important skills we can teach our students – and ourselves – is effective Web searching. For almost any project  a Web search is an integral piece, yet how skilled are students at finding accurate and relevant information quickly? The volume of information – Web ‘hits’ – is overwhelming and most searches don’t go past the first page of results.

When we teach students to search, it takes more than a single lesson. It’s a learning process where skills are developed through trail and error and the searcher paying attention to how they approach the search.  Using appropriate keywords and phrases is a skill to be developed, along with learning how to vet search results – are they accurate, authoritative, and credible, and how would you know that?  It’s not always easy!

UntitledGoogle has a very useful web site for educators in helping student learn these skills.  Their Search Education site offers you and your student many resources, such as lesson plans, short online courses, Google a Day Challenges, and recorded webinars.  Using these resources to help your students learn the art of effective Web searches will help them save time and improve the quality of their research results.

Internet Search Tips for Students

End of year projects can be challenging for the kids as they look for information on the web – and are overwhelmed by the volume of information and difficulty in finding useful sites.Teaching them how to narrow their searches will help save time, reduce frustration and distraction, and empower them to find relevant information.
Here are some resources that may help you help them:

Here is a pdf file on Tips&Tricks for Web Searches  that you could print for students and/or discuss as a class activity to help them learn searching shortcuts.

Another printable pdf fille called Google Search Ninja is another good handout for students.

Here is a short movie explaining in simple terms how to focus a search.

sweetsearchHave you heard of ?  It’s a search engine for students that filters out a lot of useless sites – it’s worth a try rather than using Google all the time.

How about ?  Students enter the url of the web page where they found info and the citation is created to copy and paste into their document.

I hope you will spend a little time with your class on some of these tips. Having student web searches be more productive is worth it!

We’re all teaching Digital Citizenship to our students, right?

Our students use digital devices every day – or at least most of them do. Smartphones, iPads, and computers are common place, and even in our classrooms iPads, Chromebooks, and computers are being used much more widely as we begin to implement blended learning and on-line learning in our classrooms.

An important aspect of student access to technology – at home or at school – is to educate them about Internet Safely and Bullying. It’s the responsible thing to do, and for schools that receive e-Rate dollars, it’s required.

There are many great resources available on the Internet that we can use with our students, and they are free. Here’s a great blog article that lists many of them and is a great place to begin gathering materials for your Digial Citizenship lessons.




Update on May 9th:  Found this great website with lots or resources:

Use Youtube safely for your classroom

YouTube-TeachersYoutube has a wealth of resources for using in the classroom, yet you may be concerned about having inappropriate suggested videos’, or ads, popping up on the screen.  To remove those problems use YouTube EDU by going to

Once there, an easy way to search by grade and subject is to scroll down a bit and look for the “Classroom Videos” tab just right of center, below the featured video.  Not only will your search be focused on educational videos, those ads and images you don’t want to see will not be there.  Find engaging videos to introduce a topic or present a concept for class discussion – make it visual!

Teaching Digital Literacy and Citizenship

Last year at this time I listed a number of resources for teaching your kids digital citizenship and cyber safety. Our students are using the internet more and more in school, and of course are embroiled it social media and the internet at home.  With cyber-bullying becoming more common place, and bullying tragedies unfortunately too common, it’s important that schools include classroom discussions and lessons on responsible and safe use of the internet and social media.

commonsensemediaIn addition to the resources listed last year (here), another excellent source of a curriculum for teachers to use is the K-12 Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum by Common Sense Media. There are videos walking you through how to use these resources, which include lesson plans, handouts, videos, as well as resources you can have kids use.

Consider spending just a little time in your classroom teaching your students to use computers, smartphones, iPads, and other digital devices safely and responsibly.

Resources for teaching Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety

Students interact with music, video, apps, social media and other digital content every day, but do they understand the rules that govern this content? Are they acting responsibly while they are online? These are important topics that educators need to address along with other more traditionally taught ideas around personal safety and social responsibility.
To help teachers with this increasingly relevant topic, Microsoft has released a free curriculum that addresses digital citizenship, intellectual property rights, and creative content rights.

The Digital Citizenship and Creative Content program is aimed at secondary students and offers cross-curricular classroom activities that align with the American Association of School Librarians and National Education Technology Standards. The program is designed to work to support students in becoming respectful digital citizens and provides insights and advice from other students.

Other online resources:

Connect Safely
ConnectSafely is for parents, teens, educators, advocates – everyone engaged in and interested in the impact of the social Web. This site is is a project of Tech Parenting Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, Calif., and Salt Lake City, Utah.   Safety tips are available in Spanish.

Get Web Wise
The Government of Alberta created this website to educate parents, teens and children on Internet safety.

Be Web Aware
Be Web Aware was developed by the Media Awareness Network, Microsoft Canada and Bell as a national Internet safety program.

NetSmartz has created resources for educators, parents/guardians, teens and kids.

This site was developed to help online users make informed choices and decisions using the Internet. It is a public service created by Internet industry corporations and public interest organizations to help ensure that Internet users have safe, constructive, and educational or entertaining online experiences.

SafeKids provides tips for social networking, Internet safety, cell phone use, and cyberbullying.

An Internet safety website for students, teachers and parents full of resources and interactive activities. Created by Childnet International, this is a great site for elementary students

OnGuard, Online
This site, created by the federal government, provides tips and multimedia resources on how to protect your personal information when using the Internet.  The site is available in Spanish.