Unit 3. Information and the InternetRevision Date: Jan 16, 2017 (Version 2.1)
This lesson has two main objectives.
The first focuses on search engine algorithms and the impact search engines have on our lives. Search engine page rank algorithms rely on many factors to predict what someone is looking for. The business advantage of appearing on the front page of a Google search is tremendous. However, as more information is tracked about our interests and preferences in order to customize the results of our searches, we have to ask whether or not the loss of privacy is worth the results.
The second objective is to introduce students to creating a visual artifact (knowledge required for performance tasks). Students will research a page ranking subtopic, prepare a one minute speech, and (if possible) create a video to accompany the speech.
Students will understand that the page rank algorithm depends on many factors, has changed over time, and has a large impact on the traffic that a site gets.
Students will give examples of how their activity online is tracked and how the knowledge of them is used to taylor the results and the possible repercussions.
Students will create an artifact using screen capture of themselves discussing and analyzing an aspect of searching.
How can computing extend traditional forms of human expression and enhance people’s ability to find information and solutions?
Student computer usage for this lesson is: required
Students should take a few minutes to journal on the following question:
Which are you more likely to do if you don't see an answer to a search request on the first page: click forward to page 2 of the results or ask the question differently? Why?
(Encourage students to discover that it is very valuable to a business to appear at the top of the search engine rankings and that often thousands or millions of results are returned in a single search.)
(Use the PageRank presentation in the lesson folder to guide discussion.)
Note: Guidelines for the teacher are in the "Teacher Notes on PageRank Presentation" document. This document also contains an answer key. (Students can record their notes in the "PageRank Student Handout".)
Why could it be beneficial for a search engine to keep track of what people are searching for? In what ways do computers enhance our ability to solve problems? Discuss.
(Possible answer to lead students toward: Topics sporadically become popular, and knowing what results people like can make it easy to suggest sites to others looking for similar things. History data can also enable a search engine to suggest a search phrase when a single word or only a few letters are typed in. The better a search engine knows what you are looking for, the better it can filter results to include results relevant to your query.)
Explain that students will be creating a presentation on the topic they researched in the last session. This presentation should be scripted, and make use of a PowerPoint and sources from the internet. They will have 30 minutes to make this presentation. (Slide 8 is made for video creation, but works well for general presentations too.)
For classes with enough video recording equipment for all groups:
Explain that students will create their own video explanations of how one feature of search engines works. Go over the "1 minute talk directions.odt" together to help students organize their video. The creative design process to develop such a short, focused product requires good teamwork, organization, and creativity. Plan out what the key message is, what visuals will add the most value, and then craft the wording to fit within the 1 minute time frame.
Students should split into their groups and begin work. Allow only 10 minutes for additional research as needed. They will take the remaining 25 minutes to:
Show as many videos/ group presentations as you can share with the class. If there are videos, assign the remainder to be watched as homework and have students bring in notes on the key points learned from each video.
For a shorter class, don't have students take notes, just discuss the slides.
For the Explore performance task, each student should be able to create their own artifact. You could have the students work on the presentations individually in this lesson, as a practice for the Explore task, if your class is fairly competent with the technology. For students with less experience (or to save time during presentations), it could be beneficial to have students create these artifacts in pairs, with some pairs repeating topics for comparison.
Students share best definitions of page rank related terms
Students analyze web pages for reasons for differences in page rank
Students create a one-minute video clip on a topic related to the operation of search engines.