Why we (and our students) should become Power Searchers

How good of a searcher are you?

Why is searching online such an essential but under-taught skill among students today?

An exploration-strand post in an ongoing 2-strand series about Information Literacy


Would you consider yourself a “power searcher” when it comes to using Google?

How might a student (say, from 4th grade through college) respond to this same question?

Even though Google has become a tool and verb intrinsically connected to how we connect to the digital world today, our perceived expertise can be deceptive. We are all very familiar and seemingly fluent in speaking “Google”; however, if our use of it remains shallow compared to how we could be leveraging its power to really work for us, then we are likewise missing out on leveraging our own power to think and grow as searchers. Continue reading

Get Your Grok On

A tool-strand post in an ongoing 2-strand series about Information Literacy

How can we foster a “slow search” approach that maximizes what we don’t know through discovery?

How can we take advantage of what we don’t know and use it more effectively in developing a search strategy?

How can the quest for quality also be built into the quest for information?


Einstein quote

Fact or Fiction?

Kids like to search Google—and they think they are pretty good at it.
Kids like to search Google using questions instead of keywords, terms or concepts.
Kids expect to get acceptable answers to their questions—and tend to accept what they get.

When it comes to searching online, this skill is probably the one students feel the most confident about simply because they do it practically everyday for one reason or another. But in this case, familiarity and frequency do not equate to fluency. Continue reading

Is Info Lit Legit?

The introductory post in a 2-strand series about Information Literacy


Is Information Literacy “legit” in our digital age?

While driving around in the car this week, listening to a local pop station for a change, the song “Hollaback Girl” came on the radio. As the lyrics “I ain’t no hollaback girl” popped to the hiphop beat, I thought to myself, I think that’s Gwen Stefani; and then I wondered, Hmm, what does “Hollaback Girl” actually mean?

To be honest, I’ve been wondering that off and on when hearing that song over the last ten years or so since it first came out, but have never quite been motivated enough to find out. Continue reading

do you hear what i hear?

When teaching students this week on how to use NoodleBib for creating citations and digital notes, I learned from previous experience with middle schoolers that tutorial videos taking them through step by step seems to help cement the process for them much more clearly that me showing them in person via a projector and big screen.  Sure, the kids like watching videos, and it’s using media that appeals to them to share content and process, and also builds in differentiation by allowing them to take it at their own pace and re-teach themselves by re-viewing the videos–all good things.

However, what really struck me with this current group of 6th graders–besides their high, positive energy–is their complete lack of the ability to simply listen.  With a focus on 21st Century skills such as collaboration and creation, critical thinking and problem solving–I am finding that critical listening is a skill gap that seems to be growing among our young digital natives, millennial kiddos, or whatever you want to call them today. Continue reading