Friday, September 23, 2011

Some Google Searches You Might Not Know About

I am an admitted Googler. I probably do about 300 Google searches a day and rely on it for all facets of my life. From looking for definitions and spellings to directions, to research for my teachers I Google and I Google a lot. But did you know there are some really cool, specialized search engines that can really narrow your searches and help you discover some really nifty things about this world we live in.

Google Books
Ok, Google Books has been around for a while and I have neglected using it until I got into my Administrators program. I was able to find my School Law book, a book that costs around $100 bucks on Amazon for free. I can also find tons of other books there that the authors have either agreed to have them hosted for free or they are out of print books that I wouldn't find any other place. Besides books there are tons of magazines, both new and older and if you are an English teacher (or just lover of literature) they have some classics written by Dickens, Longfellow, Defoe and others that you can view online or download in the ePub format. Besides the book search you can create a bookshelf and share books from your bookshelf with other users so if you are a teacher you can create a custom book list and share it with your students.

Google Blog Search
I absolutely love blogs. I get up early in the morning just to catch up on my reader in an attempt to get the pulse of the world of education. If I get a free moment during the day I try to read a post or two. But one of my favorite things to do is find new blogs to read. Just doing a general Google search can be difficult at times to find what I am looking for. So I turn to Google Blog search. No matter how obscure the topic someone out there has a blog on it that you might want to read. Just put in your search term in the box and you are returned just blogs related to that topic. Great for kids doing projects so they can find current events or, better yet, opinions on current event topics, I encourage teachers to have students do a quick blog search when doing a project. I also like blog search to find new education bloggers and get an idea on new and exciting things that are going on in the world of education.

Google Scholar
As a graduate student I got to know Google Scholar very well. I could search 1000's of peer-reviewed, scholarly articles from the comfort of, really anywhere. Looking for legal opinions, recent research or journal articles, I was hardly ever let down with the content and actually found stuff there I couldn't find anywhere else. The advanced search is very powerful so get to know it well. Have kids (especially middle and high school) look here too when doing research, especially when stressing primary sources.

I admit, this might not be one you use a lot. But if you are a science or technology teacher this is a great search engine to try out with your kids. There are over 7 million available patents for search. Once you find what you are looking for you get what the applicant says the device does, drawings, any associated patents and detailed descriptions. For students learning design or mechanics this can be a cool place to look for ideas.  Start by looking at this awesome skillet for cooking just bacon!

Those are just 4 of many others that you can check out here. So go forth! Harness the power of Google Search. Be more productive, help kids search effectively and efficiently and find really cool stuff!
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