Tag Archives: technology skills

Boost Search Strategies with Middle School Students

web design for kids Google Sites

There is LOTS of information on the Internet. When students are conducting searches for specific topics, they can become overloaded with results. Irrelevant sites, limited skimming and scanning skills, advertising, and unreliable data are all factors that can make online searching time-consuming. Competent Internet search strategies can help students to locate high-quality sites quickly to get the facts they need.

Here’s a list of tips to boost Internet searches. In the next blog, we’ll post an activity to use with students to discover different ways of finding information by applying these tips.

search strategies
TechnoEarth includes a skill review to boost search strategies.

Search Strategies to Find Information FAST!

Try many keywords:

search strategies

Some topics have more than one term used to describe it. Each will provide different results.

Be specific:

boost search strategies

To narrow search results use a phrase that states exactly what you want. The more precise, the better.

Pick from the dropdown menu:

search drop down

As you type into the search box, a list of suggested phrases appears. This can save you time typing. Plus, it offers helpful keywords.

Refer to People also ask:

search people ask

The People also ask section has popular questions. The answers can quickly provide you with the information you seek.

Check the URL:

search strategies

Look for sites that are well known organizations, government agencies, or educational pages. The URL of these sites end with .org, .gov, or .edu.

Skim and scan:

skim and scan

Read the title. Check the description for the keyword. It will be bold. Glance over the text looking for words that match the facts you need.

Notice if the site is an Ad:

boost search strategies

Websites can pay to be at the top of the search results. The listing will be labeled Ad. Just because it is first does not mean it is the best.

Check the sources:

search strategies sources

A website may list their sources of information. Often, they are links to online articles. Verify that they are high-quality. If they are, use them.

Use Find to highlight facts:

search strategies using find

If there is a lot of text, use the Find feature. Press CTRL+F on the keyboard. Type a word into the search box. If it is on the page, it will highlight. Jump to each place where the word appears using the Previous and Next buttons.

Use multiple search engines:

search strategies using search engines

Use more than one search engine such as: Bing, Google, or Duck Duck Go. Each provides different results.


TechnoEarth to Boost Search Strategies

technoearth icon
TechnoEarth Technology Project

TechnoKids’ newest project, TechnoEarth, inspires students to become environmental stewards. As they research an important issue, they develop and refine search strategies. Then, using Google Sites, they design an interactive, web-based infographic that outlines the cause, harmful effects, and solutions. The publication also summarizes stakeholders, highlights interesting facts, and pinpoints the location of the problem. Students inform the public about the environmental issue, raise awareness, and spark action.

Check out the next blog post to get a fun activity from TechnoEarth. Students search for information and explore these tips to build proficient search skills.

Pick Your Own Ending Story

  • Do you want a unique creative writing activity?
  • Do you have reluctant writers who need inspiration?
  • Do you need to integrate technology with language arts?

Forms is the answer! Whether you’re using Microsoft Forms or Google Forms, writing a pick your own ending story is a fun lesson that combines computer skills and the writing process in a way that’s sure to excite your students.

To start, students compose a scenario. They could win a prize, go on a trip, hear a noise, or any situation that intrigues a reader. Next, two choices are given for what might happen: choose the red prize box or the blue one, go to the zoo or the beach, or go to investigate or run away. Using Forms, students offer the options. Then they use the feedback option to tell the reader the consequences of their choice.

Sample:

My friend told me not to go.
I wanted to find out what was in the abandoned building at the end of the road. Everyone said it was haunted. I walked up to the front door. The lock was broken.

What do you do?

  • Push the door open and go inside.
  • Walk away quickly.

pick your own ending story

Use Forms to make a pick your own ending story.

How to Write a Pick Your Own Ending Story Using Forms

  1. Sign in to Google Drive, pick Google Forms, and in Settings, pick QUIZZES and select Make this a quiz. Remove the checkmarks for Missed questions, Correct answers, and Point values.
    OR
    Sign in to Office Online and pick a Forms quiz. In Settings, select Anyone with the link can respond. In the Options for Responses area, select Accept responses.
  2. Add a story title, such as An Unforgettable Day.
  3. In Form description, type the instructions such as Pick a story ending.
  4. Add a section to write the story action. Write the first sentence to grab the reader’s attention. For example, My boring day was about to change.
  5. In the Description, type the story using the first person, or “I” to place the reader in the story.
    • Where does the story take place?
    • Is there someone with the main character? Who?
    • What is happening?
    • What causes the character to make a choice?
    • For example: I was sitting on my porch doing nothing, when I saw a bright flash at the school. I jumped on my bike and rode to get a closer look. I could hear a buzzing sound.

  6. Design a multiple-choice question that gives the reader two choices. Replace Question with What do you do?
  7. Add two options. For example:
    • I grabbed my phone and called for help.
    • I walked towards the sound.
  8. Use feedback to write the story ending. For one answer, type an ending.
    For example: The police and I went inside the school. A science fair project in the gym was shaking. Diamonds were everywhere! A fifth grader had turned gravel into gems!
    For the other answer, type an ending.
    For example: I saw an alien standing beside a tiny ship. It had two heads with giant fangs. Oh no!
  9. Add a picture, theme, or heading to enhance the story.
  10. Preview the story and try both options. Then share it with your friends.

See a sample using Microsoft Forms.

See a sample using Google Forms.

pick your own ending story

Make a trivia quiz with TechnoTrivia for Google or Microsoft Forms.

This activity is from TechnoTrivia, available from TechnoKids for both Google Apps and Microsoft Online. Hook your students with a project that integrates technology into curriculum or just make a fun trivia quiz based on a personal interest. Order online and you will receive a Teacher Guide, Student Workbook, sample quizzes to stimulate creativity, assessment tools, parent letter, certificate, and flashcards.

Or browse TechnoKids online store to view other projects, sets, and packages.

STEM and Web Design for Kids

Why should you consider incorporating STEM and web design into curriculum? Do students really need to know how to build web pages? After all, how likely is it that they will choose jobs in computer science or careers requiring any these skills? What benefit is an understanding of web design if becoming a web designer is not a future goal?

STEM and web design

Learning how to create a web page has substantive value. Knowledge of website construction and the decisions that need to be made in its creation empower students. Following are some of the benefits to teaching STEM and web design.

Provides an Authentic Audience

When students make a website and publish it in the public domain, they are aware that not just their teacher or classmates will be viewing their results. Anyone in the world will be able to see it. They are motivated to provide the best quality of their work by having an unlimited number of actual, legitimate viewers. This is strong incentive for putting their best efforts into their creations.

Builds Digital Citizenship

In designing a web page, a student becomes a producer of information. With this power comes responsibility. The website should be a meaningful contribution to the World Wide Web. To achieve this goal students must apply Internet search strategies to link to trustworthy sources of information. They must also respect copyright laws in regards to the use of media. Moreover, they need to create content that is respectful of others. These activities promote digital citizenship as it requires them to behave appropriately when online.

Develops Media Awareness

Considering the perspective of the audience is a critical skill in web page design. In planning an online publication, students should first reflect on their target audience. Whether it is their peer group, younger kids, or the public in general, the website should be appropriate. Decisions about wording, types of graphics, and suitability of hyperlinks is affected by the type of viewer. A clear navigation system through the site, information blocked into organized headings, appealing images, and working and informative links all contribute to a site attractive to the consumer. Understanding what engages an online audience is essential.

Fosters STEM Career Skills

Very few students will become actual web page designers. However, a very large proportion of students will pursue careers related to technology skills. Whether they become online marketers, bloggers, programmers, software developers, scientists, systems analysts, or engineers, the future will favor young adults who have STEM skills. Building a website can spark an interest in pursuing other STEM areas.

stem and web design

Promotes Creative Arts

STEM has been amended to STEAM to include the value of the Arts. When publishing a web page, creative decisions need to be made: background themes, layout, image choice and type, text typeface and formatting, and overall page appearance. These choices are all important in keeping the viewer engaged. Eye catching and aesthetically appealing websites will attract and hold a viewer’s attention.

Encourages Collaboration

STEM and web design

Effective communication skills are an integral part of many STEM job skills postings. It’s a rare career that doesn’t require proficiency in working as a group. And website creation isn’t done in isolation. Before publication, a site should be submitted to peers for comments and constructive critique. The written or spoken teamwork between designer and testers is a key component in the development of a successful project.

TechnoSite to Teach STEM and Web Design Using Google Sites

STEM and web design

TechnoSite is a project in which students become web designers. Using Google Sites and following illustrated, step-by-step instructions, they construct a website that includes links to fun places for kids on the World Wide Web. Develop vital career skills by teaching STEM and web design. Learn more about TechnoSite and how you can purchase and download it today!

Web Design For Kids – Google Sites Features to Love

Web design for kids has never been as easy. Google Sites is an ideal app to construct fun, engaging, and useful websites for use in the classroom. Not only is Google Sites free with a Google account, but the tools are simple to use yet students can create professional looking results. Captivate interest and develop essential skills for the future by making websites with your students.

TechnoSite is an all new TechnoKids project that uses Google Sites to transform students into skilled web designers. In this TechnoKids project, they learn how to build a website that includes links to fun places for kids on the World Wide Web. Here are some of the nifty features that we like about web design for kids with Google Sites.

Insert Unique and Fun Elements

web design for kids

  • Themes
    When starting to make a web page, students can choose a theme. This creates a consistent, professional looking site. The font and color can also be chosen to create a one-of-a-kind design. However, there are a limited number of choices so that students are bogged down in making a decision.
  • Image Carousel
    This ‘gadget’ allows you to use a picture frame that with automatically display multiple images. Simply select two or more pictures and insert them into an image carousel. The website viewer can click the arrows to see each picture or it can be set to loop through the set of pictures automatically.
  • Layouts
    To add text and images, a selection can be made from the Layouts gallery. These preset designs contribute a polished, ‘expert’ look to the website.

Elementary students can make professional looking websites using Google Sites.

Customizable Web Page Banner

The banner at the top of the page can include text and a background image. There is a gallery of designs in Google Sites to choose from, or the web page creator can search for an image. Since it’s tricky to find a simple themed picture that looks great in the short and wide banner space, add the keyword wallpaper to the search term. Google Image Search narrows down the results to more appropriate images for the banner.

Set Navigation Mode

By default, the navigation bar automatically appears at the top right of the banner on the Home Page. Navigation settings can be adjusted to move the bar to the left side of the page. This is convenient if the layout or images look better if the page is narrower or simply if the designer wants to personalize the navigation settings.

Add a Logo to Create an Instant Color Theme

To make the website unique, a small logo can be added at the top left of the banner. Search for a simple small image or upload one to suit the webpage topic. The colors from the logo will be automatically used to produce a custom color theme.

Make Quick and Easy Changes

Want to change the order of the pages in the website? It’s easy: under the Page tab, just drag the pages to set the order you want. The navigation bar automatically adjusts too!

Test Responsive Design

With the extensive variety of devices that are commonly used to view web pages, it’s convenient to be able to preview how the website in different modes. When previewing the page, you can switch to see how it will look on a phone, tablet, and large screen. Compare how the layout changes depending on the screen of the device.

web design for kids

Responsive Design in Google Sites allows you to preview what the layout will look like on a wide screen, tablet, or phone.

Web Design for Kids Made Easy

Certainly Google Sites is an outstanding yet simple and intuitive tool for the classroom. The features are fun and powerful yet allow kids to create and publish projects that they will be eager to share. And TechnoSite is the all new TechnoKids project that empowers kids to build STEM skills using Google Sites. Find out more about TechnoSite here.