As I mentioned in a previous post, I had the pleasure of presenting again at this year's teacher2teacher conference in Bow Island, AB. For those of you who are my loyal readers, you may recall that it was at this very conference last year that my Twitter world crumbled when I accidentally deleted my original Twitter account. For those of you who haven't been avid readers of mine, or those just looking for a good laugh, you can catch up on that debacle here.
One thing that I love about this conference is the vast amount of knowledge and resources that are shared amongst the participants and the attendees. I myself had the good fortune of sitting in on some key sessions during the time slots that I wasn't leading a session, and my head is still spinning with all of the FANTASTIC ideas, links, resources and skills that I came away with.
Thus begins my task of sharing this wisdom with you!
Teacher2Teacher Tidbit #1: Google Custom Search Engine
This first tidbit comes from an educator that is well respected -- both by myself as well as the rest of the educational community. Obe Hostetter(@itrt) is an educator in Virginia with a strong knowledge base of how to utilize technology in the classroom. As one of example of his expertise, he co-runs a very popular Ning - the SMART Board Revolution - and can often be found on there answering people's questions about everything from software to hardware.
As part of one of his teacher2teacher sessions, he pointed out the following website:
Did you know that you can create your own Google custom search engine? Me neither! What a fantastic way to narrow down the bazillion useless sites that are automatically searched and scan only the websites that you know actually contain the information. Setting up is easy, as the picture below illustrates:
From here you dictate what sites you want searched or a particular file type that you want the search engine to look for. FANTASTIC!! There are so many applications for this in the classroom: use it to filter search pages for students that are researching a project (we've all had that inappropriate site pop up mid-search on an innocent topic), use it to find locally based content (such as all of Alberta School division websites -- thanks Obe for setting that one up!), create a catalogue of your favourite bookmarked sites and then search for keywords, etc., etc., etc.
Two custom search engines that readers of this blog may find useful are found on the SMART Board Revolution. Obe has created them to filter for content that SMART Board users may find interesting. There's one that only searches the SMART Exchange website, and then one that searches approx. 180 different websites that are known to host SMART Notebook content...looking only for those Notebook files!
Simply go to the SMART Board Revolution, scroll approximately halfway down, and there they are on the left hand side:
Stay tuned for teacher2teacher tidbit numereux deux coming next week!