Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Science Literacy and Searching the Internet

For over a decade, the National Science Education Standards have focused our attention on scientific literacy, a golden umbrella that encompasses not just reading, writing, and speaking but the attitudes, content knowledge, and process skills that make it possible to investigate natural phenomena and understand the results.

Source: http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2008.aspx; Accessed 2 Mar 2010.

In the same way basic literacy involves knowing how to use a dictionary or an index, science literacy involves knowing how to find information on science topics (health, botany, engineering, among others) that is worth reading. One can find so much information on the internet. Look at the variety of search engines:
  • Altavista
  • MSN MSN Germany MSN United Kingdom MSN Canada MSN Spain MSN Italy MSN France MSN Austria MSN Switzerland
  • Anzwers
  • Excite Excite UK
  • Fireball
  • Go
  • Google Google Germany Google Azerbaijan Google United Kingdom Google Canada Google Spain Google Italy Google Japan Google Russia Google France Google Austria Google Switzerland Google Poland Google India
  • Hotbot
  • Infomak
  • Infoseek
  • Lycos
  • National Directory
  • Northernlight
  • Voila
  • Web Crawler
  • Web Top
  • Web Wombat
  • WhatUSeek
  • Walhello
  • Alexa
  • SearchEngine
  • InfoTiger
  • ScrubTheWeb
  • WebSquash
  • Admcity
  • Unasked
  • Teoma
  • Ask Jeeves
  • Find What
  • Yahoo!
So, how do you know what search engine to use, or, does it matter?



How can you tell valuable information from , "hype?"





The jury is likely still out on these questions. I try different search engines and usually find what I want most rapidly on Google. I like to find original source material whatever source engine I use. How about you? What search engine(s) do you use? Why? What kinds of responses do you get? Post comments below, or, e-mail me a post and I will post it for readers and link it here. Happy researching!

Let's try some experimenting...

Let's look for science literacy and internet use on the different search engines... (look for original source material).

Google's response starts with:

Scholarly articles for science literacy and internet use

eHealth literacy: essential skills for consumer health in … - Norman - Cited by 55
literacy in science and engineering undergraduate … - Leckie - Cited by 81
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in Internet usage - Teo - Cited by 364
Let's try Altavista's top three:

Science & Information Literacy on the Internet


Science and Information Literacy on the Internet: Using the ACRL and Project 2061 Standards to Create a Science Web Page Evaluation Tool. ACRL Conference ...

Magnifico: Science, literacy, and the internet? " Spotlight
Science.net players, on the other hand, role-play as reporters and ... I agree that facilitation of internet use is very important (and sometimes also ...

Science NetLinks: Resources for Teaching Science')" id="XPLSS_1110701665U1" src="chrome://searchshield/content/safe.gif" border="0" hspace="5">
Science NetLinks provides a wealth of resources for K-12 science educators to provide standards-based Internet experiences for students.

Now, you can compare and contrast these two search engines, and try some others.

Unless you want students to look at the top posts, which are determined by how people who know how to post (o their work shows on the top of the list (...and, may not be the best choice...), you have to show better ways of searching. How? By, now here's a place to use Modern Math that often gets picked on (but is actually very useful to me): Use the Boolean Algebra learned in elementary school during the, "Modern Math," period: AND, OR, NOT... Some visionary(ies) saw to teach Boolean Algebra because he, she, or they could see the, "Computer Age," coming.

I had to put some good points in on, "Modern Math," because it has been so helpful to me and it seems to, "get a bad rap," much of the time. But, let me get back to the use of Boolean Algebra for searching the internet. (Math is so important to science literacy.)

In our example:

Science literacy and internet use

Science literacy AND internet use

Compare to:

Science literacy OR internet use

"science literacy" AND "internet use"

"science literacy" AND "internet use" AND (elementary OR K-6)

Try a few different ways of searching and you will get the idea. Are you finding differences?

Using this one:
"science literacy" AND "internet use" AND (elementary OR K-6)
brought up something on target, right away (But, so did the AltaVista search---which perhaps anticipated the search string a person meant to use...):

Magnifico: Science, literacy, and the internet?

Filed at 8:00 pm on March 5, 2007 in Games4 comments

Understanding how young people evaluate information on the internet.

In the recent session on games and learning, Jonathan Fanton reported that one goal of the Macarthur digital media and learning initiative is to better understand how young people evaluate information that they find on the internet. In our work on Science.net, an epistemic game in which middle schoolers spend several weeks role-playing as science journalists and writing several stories for an online newsmagazine, we have found that our reporters begin the game feeling comfortable with the internet. They tell us about using web sources for school reports, for chatting, for playing games with their friends. They even report knowing that anyone with a webpage can publish opinions for the world to see.

The majority of them, however, don?t have a strategy for assessing the reliability of the information that they find. Here?s one typical pre-game interview response: ?You never know, it?s the internet. If it?s like the first thing that pops up and then it looks pretty professional, then I?d use it…? READ MORE BY CLICKING HERE.

; Accessed 2 Mar 2010.

The article mentions, "Jonathan Fanton." Where do we go from here? Use your Reach ReadingTM skills.




Dr. J

Post scripts:

If you (and your school) are interested in participating in a study on Reach ReadingTM AND/OR on Critical Thinking AND/OR Science Literacy, please e-mail me: shipmanjs at g mail dot com. (I hope you smiled at the AND/OR references).

I think I will do a post on Tsunamis and the role of Boolean Algebra (AND Modern Math) in saving lives. I can tell much of this information first hand.

Please post comments or e-mail me.

Dr. J

(c) 2010 J S Shipman

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