Google Search Stories for classroom use

I worked with my school’s Humanities faculty this afternoon showing them some Web tools that they may like to use in their classes. They’ve had a lot of success with Glogster, and now feel like they need to look into different tools to help with demonstrating students’ understanding of the subject areas they are teaching. I’ve created a page on the wiki I use as a resource base and I shared that with them. We explored quite a few things they’d not seen such as Capzles Voicethread, timetoast, and Google Search Stories.

I’d never made a Google Search Story until this afternoon, and I found the experience incredibly easy, but enlightening too. While it’s no doubt a bit of marketing for the Google juggernaut, it could very well have a place in classrooms. The search story above deals with the recent crisis in Japan. All I had to do was go to the search story creator, type in the search terms I thought were applicable and select what kind of search I wanted for each search inquiry eg: web search, maps, news etc. It’s a way of highlighting that there are different kinds of searches you can do on Google- you aren’t limited to the home page search box. There’s the first lesson for our Google addicted students!

It got me, and the others in the group this afternoon, thinking about how it could be used in classrooms. Our International Studies teacher could see immediate application for current world events, as either something she created to hook the students in at the start of a lesson, or something they created to demonstrate their understanding of the timeline or complexity of an issue. We thought about books they’d read, and how they could tell a character’s journey via a search story. They are certainly fun to create and can be done easily within a lesson, even within ten minutes really.

The difficulty comes with uploading them to YouTube. I have an account so the process was very easy for me. All I needed to so was sign into my account from the search story creator and the video was uploaded for me. It was a very quick process. Both of my children have YouTube accounts, so if they were sitting in your classrooms you’d have no worries with them, but it’s not going to be the norm for the majority of our students. I also think we’d have a fair few parents who probably don’t want their children having an account. We were trying to work out how we’d overcome this and be able to use this in our classrooms. We thought we could create a school account on YouTube, and when it came to upload time, the teacher could input the school email and password for the account. We weren’t keen on sharing this with the students, just in case someone thought it ‘funny’ to upload something inappropriate under the school’s name. I’m not sure how we’ll proceed just yet, but I do think it’s worth following through with. If anyone reading this has any other ideas, please leave a comment and enlighten us!

It’s worth taking a look at the search stories site and looking at some of the videos there. Some are very clever, even touching, and all in 30 seconds or so. Take a look below and you’ll see what I mean.

4 Replies to “Google Search Stories for classroom use”

  1. Glad to read about your success with Google Search Stories, Jenny. I actually blogged twice about them.

    I think it’s an incredible way to introduce students to the concepts of the digital footprint that they’re leaving/creating. I also think every school should create one for their front page. If they aren’t contributing, then they won’t have any content to find and there’s a message there as well. The downside, as you note, is the requirement to have a YouTube account to post to the web. But, your solution of a school account is an insightful way of dealing with that. There are always ways to handle these things depending upon your situation.

    You don’t even have to save them – I used it as an eye opener at a workshop and had participants create their own story and we got to know each other by watching each other’s Search Story. This is a very powerful tool with endless possibilities.

  2. Jenny Luca,

    My name is Whitney Hale and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I am one of professor Strange’s students. I would just like to say that I think the Google Search Stories is very interesting! We have been experimenting with a lot of new things that I have never used before. Hopefully the opportunity will arise where I can take your advice and try out Google Search Stories. For us, we really do not have the restrictions that you do since we are college-age students. I think parents are going to make the transition of more and more technology in the classroom difficult. I think that parents think that they are protecting their kids and not realizing that they are limiting them to what they can achieve. Could you make a user name and password for each class? Maybe even limit them to knowing the username and when they are ready to log in, you enter the password? That way they do not have access outside of class time to do anything silly. Thanks for all the great information!


    1. Hi Whitney,
      In recent times, I’ve had a lot of support from our parent population in relation to the use of technology within our school. I think we are starting to see the tide turn, as parents recognise the need to understand how we can best use technology to help our students create a positve digital footprint for themselves.
      Glad you’re finding this blog useful, and hope you do try Google Search Stories.
      Jenny : )

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