This week in Instructional Technologies class, I learned that it is possible to create your own customized search engine. I found this tool extremely fascinating and helpful for my lesson plans. As a business educator, I assign weekly current events for students to stay engaged in the business world and up to date on issues surrounding them. These assignments encourage students to research what is currently going on and ultimately reflect with their opinion about the topic they find. My specific rubric clarifies that they must follow rules to ensure they are finding information from credible sources and that it pertains to the subject material.
After finding out that you could customize your search engine, I became ecstatic. I was overwhelmed at the idea that such thing even existed. It is genius! I love the fact that I can give a student my website URL that will link them to my specific subject search. This is a wonderful tool that will allow students to engage in educational research and ultimately expose them how to search and evaluate websites. This gives me as the educator the opportunity to facilitate where they are getting their information in the classroom and when they are at home.
As we have touched on in other posts, it is important to be current with instructional technologies and how they can be incorporated in the classroom. I have found that this week has prepared me for the trends of digital literacy that students are exposed to on a daily basis. Being informed on the latest trends, allows educators to focus on their subject material without being distracted from learning how to use such technologies. After creating a Professional Learning Network (PLN) in class, I saw myself connecting with the younger generations on how to use different social networking devices. Being a current educator in a high school setting, I see the challenges students face with schoolwork and finding time for the popular social networking options available to them. I am extremely excited to be able to practice using these different networking options and post them to one central location, where users and/or followers may see what I have published. Once educators have learned how to utilize social networks, they can then focus on how to mold student’s activity and proper use of these technologies to further their education and ultimately use them for professional use.
Once educators connect these trends and the student’s interests, I believe that it is then we can connect with the individual student. Students enjoy when an educator can relate to their everyday situations and can apply the course content to a real life situation they can encounter. If facilitators practice and understand how to use social media tools, they can teach students how to properly find multiple resources that are easily accessible at their fingertips. These are tools that can aid a student that is in school, all the way until they are in a professional setting. I find this critical to the 21st Century Learner and something that must be added to the curriculum. I also find it truly amazing that so many tools are accessible on the web that I never have heard about! I am so excited to see what is next!!