NCSSSMST Presentation: Google Is Not the Enemy

March 8, 2010

Last Wednesday through Saturday I attended the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Professional Conference.  The acronym isn’t much better:  NCSSSMST.  I attended a workshop on social media by Corey Alderdice of the Gatton Academy, a session on using robotics to stimulate interest in STEM topics by David Platt from Wheeler High School Center for Advanced Studies, and I spent a couple of hours with the LASA E-Zine folks.

Our librarian Alaine Martaus and I presented a session called Google Is Not the Enemy, demonstrating the Google search tools and techniques that students can use to access legitimate sources online.  Alaine demonstrated Google Scholar, Google Books, and Google Patent Search.  I introduced Google Alerts, Wonder Wheel, Timeline Search, and Google Squared.  You may recognize some of the slides in this presentation from Searchin’ Like It’s 1999.

Led by a Google Certified Teacher, this session is designed to familiarize faculty who guide student research on the finer points of using Google’s specialized search tools and applications for advanced research results. Though many students rely heavily on the standard Google search for their research needs, faculty are increasingly wary of the reliability and accuracy of the information accessed through this generalized web search engine. The primary method of preventing unverified information from making its way into student writing has been to educate students in methods of website evaluation. What this session aims to do is present an additional method that involves using specialized search tools and scholarly applications available from Google that will improve the overall quality of all sources found through online searches. Using information gained at the selective Google Teacher Academy, this session means to demonstrate a variety of Google applications that will be of use both to students in their research and to teachers. The session will also discuss the advantages of building on the familiar foundation of Google searching, which is already so popular with students. Lastly the session will touch briefly on some of the controversies and worries that teachers often have about Google with the hopes that open discussion will alleviate any concerns about using Google tools more fully in the classroom.

We had some spare time at the end of the session, so we demonstrated the Google Applications for Education suite offered free to schools.  One very excited participant ran out of the room asking her colleague, “Why aren’t we doing this?  I don’t understand exactly what it is, but it’s wonderful!”  Several expressed interest in my 3-day summer workshop, “Go Paperless with Free Google Tools.”  More on that in a future post.

NCSSSMST conferencegoers enjoyed an evening at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Line dancing lessons were complimentary for the uninhibited.  See that video after the break.

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2 Responses to “NCSSSMST Presentation: Google Is Not the Enemy”


  1. Thanks for coming to my presentation! I look forward to checking out the Google docs version of your presentation.


  2. […] NCSSSMST Presentation: Google Is Not the Enemy […]


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