Effective Internet search skills are essential with the compounding amount of information available on the web. In my work as an Extension professional with USU I have noticed that many of my colleagues and clients lack the skills necessary to effectively navigate the Internet and locate needed information.
Here are three factsheets I co-authored to help you improve your search skills:
Google Search Basics
Google Search Operators
Google Search Techniques
Knowledge is no longer something we possess, it's now something we access. The Internet requires highly developed skills to access and interpret information. Relevant information is not the same as specific information.
Knowing how to formulate a specific query that will return a specific answer is critical in the 21st century. Expanding your understanding of Google Search and applying the search techniques will serve you in your consumption and dissemination of content.
Research has shown that people generally lack the skills to effectively search for needed content on the Internet. Many people think young people are 'tech savvy' but further research has found that students searching for Internet content showed difficulty narrowing searches, discerning useful links, and using effective keywords.
Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. "In a world where access to data was always limited, the ability to remember what you were taught, without fresh access to all the data, was a critical success factor," writes Seth Godin in his 2012 book Stop Stealing Dreams. Access to data is no longer limited by memory! Search skills are essential in today's connected age, and knowledge of how to utilize Google Search is necessary to those skills.
Developing search skills will help you find, organize, and leverage information faster—thereby increasing productivity and improving your quality of life online. I see disseminating and teaching search skills as a creative opportunity for Extension professionals to serve a new generation of clients who are increasingly reliant on the Internet, which was described in 2011 by Marc Andreeson as being in an age where "software is eating the world."
If you are as fascinated by search as I am, or just realize how important this 21st century skills is, I invite you to learn more at Google's Search Education site and take power searching courses at powersearchingwithgoogle.com.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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