Saturday, May 7, 2011

YouTube's Google Search Stories Creation Tool

Update March 2013 - It appears the Google Search Stories Creation Tool has gone offline and is no longer being supported as of January 2013. Bummer! More information here.

You know how you open up your Internet browser intending to accomplish something, then you click on a link that takes you on a slight rabbit trail and before you know it you are headed in a completely different direction?

Well, that happened to me this morning. But I'm glad it did, because I discovered YouTube's Google Search Stories Creation Tool, and after viewing a sample story I played around with it to create my own search story. I've embedded it below, but scroll on below it too, because it led me to begin brainstorming ways this tool could be used with students, and it might even trick them into learning some useful search techniques!

So, as I was creating this story, and after viewing a few other stories found at the SearchStories site, I came up with a few ideas for using this tool with students.

  • After finishing a literature study, create a search story for one of the characters that helps trace the character's development
  • During a literature study, create a search story a character might engage in to resolve a dilemma
  • Create a search story depicting what searches a famous historical figure might have done if he/she had had access to Google during his/her period of history
  • Create a search story that depicts the essence of a scientific or historical topic you recently studied
  • Create a search story which shows a possible educational/career path you are considering
  • Use as a culminating activity for a unit/lesson on research techniques as an assessment - have the students generate a question or research topic and let them demonstrate how they would use Google search to investigate
  • Create a search story for use as PR, like this one from The Mary Louis Academy
  • Create a search story for use as an introductory or summary video for a presentation (this would work well for staff development creators, too!)
  • Whatever kind of search story your students create, require them to use at least three different types of searches, some of which can be chosen in the creation tool itself, but many of which you will have to know the proper Google syntax to use.
The SearchStories Creation Tool only allows seven search phrases and makes a 35 second video, which I think makes it a brilliant tool for asking students to focus on the heart of a topic, whatever they might be depicting. I encourage you to try it out, and as it causes you to brainstorm even more ideas, please share them below in the comments!