I always try to get into classes when they are starting some sort of research project for the first time. I talk about Boolean searching, citing sources (even for pictures), and our databases. The first few times I did this (a few years ago), I explained the databases and then I could see the kids were like, “yeah whatever.” They used Google for their research while I cringed.
I needed to spice it up. So, I added the Tree Octopus and the horrible MLK site, and wow did that work. If you don’t know, you can google Tree Octopus, and a very credible-looking site will come up. If you google Martin Luther King, the first site that comes up after wikipedia is one created by a white supremacist group. These actually got them thinking about the fact that I’m not lying when I tell them that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.
Sometimes, I even pull up this site, and say, “See! Any yahoo with a computer can make a website!”
Today, I found another great resource- one that I think will hit my kids even harder. These are two pictures posted by ABC for an expose 20/20 did on counterfeit merchandise. The news feature was pretty interesting- I highly recommend checking it out. I love this- one of the websites in the picture is the real one, and one is a fake…
In both cases, the one on the right is the fake.
How great are these examples for teaching kids to use databases? It really shows that even when you are diligent about using good sources, you really can’t trust google searching for academic research.