Articles in category "Integration into teaching and learning"

Searching rather than Googling?

Google has a monopoly on the language of ‘search’. When referring to research on the internet do you ask students to do ‘a search for…’ or do you ask them to ‘google ...’?

The Google search engine is definitely a very useful tool that can be used effectively and efficiently with the correct approach. However there are alternatives tools with which information can be found. The use of these alternatives is well worth exploring with your students. Such an activity would link to the ‘evaluate and select digital information sources based on the appropriateness to specific tasks’ or ‘reflect critically about how information is collected, reshaped, and shared online’ standards within the Technology for Learning Framework.

Three alternatives that are worth exploring are Bing, Wolfram|Alpha and DuckDuckGo. Below I have provided some links, a brief outline of what they are and their pros and cons. I have also shown the results for the ‘kings of france’ should you use each to search.



What is it? Microsoft’s search engine.


  • The ‘image search’ is well developed in terms of easy access to various search filters such as ‘Date’ and ‘License’.
  • Teaching point: with students - try a search in both bing and Google - which gives the best result for the type of information you are looking for? Which is the best tool for the task you are doing?


  • It is weakened by the fact that it doesn’t have as many users as Google. This leads to less optimised results, more spammy and irrelevant results.





What is it? ‘A computational knowledge engine’... so it not a search engine but more of an ‘answer engine’ looking at it’s own databases for the answers. It relies on licensed databases and content entered, tagged and catalogues by Wolfram Research employees.


  • For getting ‘data’, calculations, conversations and localizations.
  • There is a whole range of suggestions on the homepage - have a play and reflect on how it may be useful for the subject you teach.


  • If the data isn’t there - it can’t find it. It is not a search engine.



What is it?   It is an anonymous search engine - it does not keep track of your searches. DuckDuckGo aggregates results from Bing, Yandex and other engines and displays them privately to the 'searcher'.


  • They have a strict one-add-a-page revenue model.
  • Teaching point: with students - try a search in both DuckDuckGo and Google - which gives the best result for the type of information you are looking for?
  • Teaching point: discuss with students the pros and cons of not being tracked by your search engine.


  • There are no personalized results. Like bing it lacks the number of users that Google does and therefore the benefits all that ‘knowledge’ and ‘patterns’ brings.

Building collaborative YouTube playlists with colleagues and students

All staff and students that use the Ecolint 'Google Apps for Education' domains (so anybody with a or email address) has a YouTube account.



YouTube playlists are a convenient place to curate a set of YouTube clips for a whole number of reasons. Maybe you want to provide a playlist to help students revise. Maybe you are working with a set of colleagues to pool resources used for teaching a certain unit or topic. Playlists do not have to be collaborative if you do not wish them to be and they can be public, private or unlisted.

To create a collaborative YouTube playlist:

Choose the first video you would like to add to your playlist. Click on 'Add to', give the playlist a name and then click 'Create'.


Click on the 'the burger' (the three parallel lines) in the top left hand corner of the page to access the YouTube menu.

Click 'My Channel' and then click on the playlist you have just created. Click 'Playlist settings' and then 'Collaborate'. Click the switch to the right of 'Collaborators can add videos to this playlist' and then copy the link that is generated. You can now send this link to the people you wish to be able to collaborate on your playlist. When they click on the link, they will be taken to YouTube and there will be a blue banner for them to click upon to acknowledge their new powers!


Southampton to Cape Town in 1937 - Using ArcGIS Online

This lesson has existed in various forms for the last couple of years. The basis of the learning experience is that students design the route that a plane would have taken in 1937 to travel from Southampton to Cape Town.

This version of the lesson uses ArcGIS Online as the main digital tool for designing and then documenting the route.

Before students start this lesson using ArcGIS Online they should:

  • have had an ArcGIS Online account created for them, they should have accessed it and understand how to open/save content within it.
  • experienced the use of 'Map Notes' as a way of annotating a map.
  • used the measuring tool.
  • experimented with changing the base map.

This document 'An Introduction to ArcGIS Online' will take the students through all of these prerequisite steps.

Travel by Air

Lesson Sequence

  1. Students use ArcGIS Online (mainly the measuring tool and Map Notes) to design their route using this map as their starting point.
  2. Students produce a route card for the journey - I would suggest the use of Google Sheets and some basis spreadsheet skill development [Record basic data, use basic formula].
  3. Students use the route they have designed in ArcGiS Online to produce a Story Map [Share > Create a Web App > Build a Story Map > Story Map journal].
  4. The '1922 World Map (Web Mercator)' Tile Layer by National Geographic is included in the starting map so that students can explore the pre-decolonization names and borders of countries.
  5. The student submits their Story Map (and route card) for assessment. An MYP Individuals and Societies assessment rubric can be found on - produced by Ellena Mart.

Using Google Photos to build collaborative albums

Google has a cloud photo management system - Google Photos - which some consider to be the current best solution available.

This week Google has added the ability to create 'shared albums' - where multiple people can contribute images into a single collaborative album.

This could be rather useful! Imagine a team of teachers or students using a single album to curate photos from a trip or experience. It works online and via the Android and iOS Google Photos apps. As as a 'Google Apps for Education' user you have unlimited storage.


Google PhotosGoogle Photos can be found by clicking on the 'waffle' in the top right hand corner of any of the Google apps. Once you have started to create an album you can then choose the sharing options and choose how the album is shared and who can contribute to it.

Sharing options


Create a custom search engine to focus student research

Using Google to research can be too big at times!

Maybe you just want to give students a curated set of sources to search within. It is possible to create your own search engine that will only search within a certain set of sites or even sections of sites.

Sites to search


  1. Go to and then click on 'Sign in to Custom Search Engine'.
  2. Sign in with your school Google Apps for Education account [].
  3. Enter the URL of one the sites you wish to focus upon into the 'Sites to search' box.
  4. Repeat step 3 for each of the sites you want the students to search within.
  5. It is possible to include individual pages of websites, entire sites and even just sections of websites.
  6. Give your search engine a name and then click 'Create'.
  7. You now have a couple of options:
    1. You can get a link to visit your custom search engine's search box on its own individual webpage (this link could easily be shared with students).
    2. You can embed your custom search engine's search box into a webpage (of your own website, your departmental website or a section of ICT Nations - if you wish)
  8. It is possible to go back and edit the sites your custom search engine search uses etc.
  9. You can create as many custom search engines as your wish - so you could have ones for different projects or even different year groups.


The following search engine could be used to focus student research upon climate change. It only searches the following: and You can use the custom search engine below or at this webpage.

Having a file in multiple Google Drive folders

In Google Drive it is possible to 'add selected items to an additional folder'. This means that you can have a file in more than one folder. You are not duplicating the file - you are just putting access to it in more than one place.

The process:

  1. Select the file you would like to have in more than one folder.
  2. Move the file to one of the folders you want to keep it in. Do this by 'right-clicking' on the file and then choosing 'Move to'. You then need to choose the desired folder.

Move to...

  1. Then click the folder to which you would like to add the file. You are not copying the file. You are just adding access to the file to an additional folder.
  2. Done.

Other keyboard shortcuts for Google Drive on the web can be found here.

Forcing students to make a copy of a Google Document, Sheet or Slide

You have produced a Google Document, Sheet or Slide and you want the students to make a copy of it so that they work upon their own copy.

You can share the document with the students - with the students only having the right to view the document and then ask them to go to File and then Make a Copy. However this is a multi-step process for the students.

An easier way is to share an edited link with the students that forces them to create a copy.

Firstly get the sharing link for the document - as you are sharing from one domain ( to another ( setting it to 'Anybody who has the link can view' is the easiest approach.


Sharing Settings

You need to remove everything after the final and replace it with copy

- for example:


You can share this with the students via email, ManageBac or your website.

If the student clicks on the new link and is not logged into their Google Apps for Education account it will ask them to do so.

A journey through Search

The following steps may help you guide students (or staff) through various search skills.

Tip: ensure that you are all using the same Google domain - either or Using geographically localize to the Google domain of the country you are in.

  1. Search: hurricane - how many results are there?
  2. Search: hurricane katrina - how many results are there?
  3. Search: "hurricane katrina" - how many results are there?
  4. Choose the top result - why is it Wikipedia?
  5. Ctrl+F or Cmd+F to search the webpage for: landfall
  6. Ctrl+F or Cmd+F to search the webpage for: cost
  7. Search: $108 in CHF - this converts $ to CHF for you.
  8. Search: define:hurricane - explore the 'Translations, word origin, and more definitions'.
  9. Search: filetype:pdf hurricane katrina
  10. Search: hurricane katrina
  11. Search: hurricane katrina
  12. Search "hurricane katrina" - then click 'Search tools' > explore the possible time brackets you can put on the publish date of the digital content.
  13. Search "hurricane katrina" - then click Images, then click 'Search tools' > explore the Size and Usage rights.

7 Digital Search Skill Tips

Assuming the use of Google as a search engine while using Google Chrome.

Tip 1: Search within a webpage or document

Use the find bar to locate a specific word or phrase on a webpage. You can use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+F (Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS) and ⌘+F (Mac) to quickly open the find bar.


Search Tip 1

Tip 2: Use OR within a search query

Find pages that might use one of several words.


Search Tip 2

Tip 3: Use search to get number conversions

Use Google to quickly convert units.


Search Tip 3

Tip 4: Use Image search 'Search tools' to find images that can be reused

Use the 'Search tools' menu after doing an image search to filter results by usage rights.


Search Tip 4

Tip 5: Search within a specific site

Get results from certain sites or domains.


Tip 6: Search for related pages

Find sites that are similar to a web address you already know.


Tip 7: Use Web search 'Search tools' to find digital content posted within a certain time bracket

Use the 'Search tools' menu after doing a web search to filter results by date.