Harry Potter and Google searches: Lesson One

A Google search for “Harry Potter, JK Rowling birthday” resulted in thousands of possible links — from the MTV story to an 8-year-old’s birthday photos to a video of Daniel Radciffe (Harry Potter) singing happy birthday to Rowling from two years ago.

So the teaching lesson is to do a similar activity with your students to make the point that a Google search produces a real mixed bag of results. Select a topic of that’s relevant to your subject area and have your students do a Google search. For example, doing a Google search for “dolphins” will yield both marine mammals information and NFL stats.

Google provides tips for refining a Google search. Including symbols — “”, * or + — can make a significant difference.

A topic to include in Google search class practice is the role of extensions. Even the college students I work with often haven’t realized what different extensions — gov, com, edu, net — mean.

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