Archive for the ‘Research’ category

Search the Internet like an NSA agent

May 8th, 2013

The National Security Agency has a guide for how to use Internet searches in ways that you may not have considered. The guide was just released through the Freedom of Information Act and the NSA has posted a copy here. For anyone who loves thinking through how search engines actually work, it’s a fascinating read. As a tech instructor, I also am intrigued by how some of the best spies in the U.S. search for information.

Create your own infographics

December 12th, 2012

You know those graphs that have become really trendy on web sites? Those are infographics and School Library Journal linked to two great sites to create your own with and

Students, this would be a great addition to those research projects.
Teachers, this would be a different way to present some of your content in a more visually-engaging way.

A big thanks goes to Ms. Renshaw at MJHS for pointing me towards the SLJ article.

Major news agencies being fooled by satire

November 29th, 2012

Check your sources!

The China’s People’s Daily is China’s communist party’s official newspaper and this week it reposted a satirical article from The Onion about North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as if it were real. Earlier this year, The Onion ran a parody story about how some people in the United States preferred the leader of Iran (a country we have had a bunch of tension with) to President Obama and Iran’s news agency ran it as true.

Also this week, a fake press release about Google acquiring a wi-fi company had been submitted to PRWeb, a site that news agencies can get press releases from. Big tech news sites like TechCrunch took the story and ran with it because it made sense that the giant Google would buy up another company. Since the press release was fake and neither company had been in talks about a buyout, the news agencies had to provide apologies for not checking their sources.

This reminds me of when Shane Fitzgerald posted a fake quote to Wikipedia and then news agencies requoted it as if it were true.

Poligraft – Tracking financial influence in politics

December 2nd, 2011

I recommend the Congress app for Android, iPhone, and Windows phones. It’s a very handy tool to stay informed about what your elected officials are doing.

While on Sunlight’s website, I found Poligraft, a site that helps you track financial influence in politics. You find an article online and paste in the URL or the selected text. The site then searches the article for political names and organizations. On the side of the screen it highlights those names and shows either how much money that politician has received from which organization or how much the organization has donated to politicians.

It can help you track influence when sifting out bias (which helps students meet standard 1.2.4 from the AASL’s Standards for 21st Century Learners).

Click here to learn where Sunlight gets its data.

The difference between a works cited page and a bibliography

November 22nd, 2011

A teacher asked me a simple question today about the difference between a works cited page and a bibliography. That’s actually something that I had not been asked before. We always used works cited pages or annotated bibliographies in my own schooling and in my classroom. But what about a simple bibliography? I learned something new today (or that I had forgotten over time).

It’s actually an easy differentiation:
A works cited only lists what you quoted from.
A bibliography lists every work you read, even if you didn’t quote from it.
A bibliography tracks what influenced your thoughts/opinions.

On a related note about citations: here are the current standards for MLA and APA format.