Category: Google

Google scientist on literacy

Hat tip to Sheila Webber and her excellent blog for bringing this interesting talk by Google research scientist Dr. Daniel Russell to my attention:

Talk by Google research scientist Dr. Daniel Russell from UNC SILS on Vimeo.

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Google’s Search Education

“Pssst… you may want to check out Google’s Free classes called Power Searcher…” said my colleague’s email. Although I know, use and teach many of Google’s advanced features, I could not resist to test-drive their online learning platform and initiative.

In a quick take, the site is streamlined and the tone is consensual, unscripted yet structured and slightly too slow. I also love the design of the class site, elegant and uncluttered, in true Google fashion :

Classes in a course

Lessons in a class

Lessons in a class

I also like the pace, or how all learning objects are integrated in the flow of the initiative. Each lesson, a 3 to 8 minute video, is followed by activities, usually multiple-choice of short answer questions. Learners are also called upon to open new tabs and perform steps outside of the environment.

Also, videos start with a slide, showed for 3 or 5 seconds, that cover the learning objectives/outcomes of the lesson. Daniel Russell, Senior Research Scientist at Google, provides for en engaging series of videos. Usually, the focus is on slides from a Presentation with his “talking head” in a smaller window – this is the same setup I use for my own training videos.

Now, the only criticism I can provide is the subtext of the presentation. Now, this is a corporate learning initiative, so I was expecting to get fed a lot of Google products (this actually – surprisingly – is quite pleasantly accomplished). But what slowly got on my nerves is that Daniel Russell assumes gingerly that everything you would ever wish to find is on the free web, indexed by Google.

To be fair, in one activity, he did point out that you may have to use another search system (in that case, a statistics database from a governmental agency) to locate your answer. Now, this issue is probably too much on my mind because I try to get University students to look beyond the free web for their papers…

Honestly, this criticism is very personal and I want to congratulate and thank Daniel Russell and the folks at Google for this engaging, interesting and relevant tour of their “Data garden” – Merci !