Module 3 Suggested Activities
- Use Google Search tips to find resources for your next assignment.
- Use Google Advanced Image Search to find fair-use images for your assignments.
- If the fees are reasonable, set up your mobile phone on PulseWire to enable text message posting.
- If possible, use your mobile phone to take pictures, record audio or video to accompany your assignments.
- Read through the supplemental materials on Mobile Activism and Security.
Digital Media Learning Materials
In this section, we'll give you some tips on how to make the most out of your Google searches, and discuss how you can put your mobile phone to use as a citizen journalist and social activist.
Google search is an amazingly useful tool that most of us are already familiar with. You may use it to look up news, search for topics of interest and do research on your Voices of Our Future assignments. Most of us, however, rarely use the advanced features on Google search. But if you know how to use this tool fully, it can help you immensely with your citizen journalism work. Why is that?
Bringing personal narrative into your assignments is what makes them unique and appealing. Whether you’re writing an Op-ed or a Feature Story, we’ve asked you to pull the readers in with you as you walk through the busy city streets of Mumbai, or a muddy road in the rain forests of Colombia. But what makes your stories appeal to larger audiences--and have greater impact-- is their connection to global issues.
For example, if you’re talking about local efforts in your area to preserve forest land--what are the larger issues that connect to this? You could talk about local government laws that support--or detract--from these efforts, or climate change and the need to preserve forests because they act as a natural carbon dioxide filter.
The strength of your stories is in connecting the local and personal to the global.
One of the ways that you can bring this global perspective into your work is by doing research online and finding supporting documents, laws and events that you can weave into your assignments. But this can be time consuming if you don’t know where or how to look. Below, we’ve outlined some tips for Google search to help you find this information more quickly.
Basic Search Tips (www.google.com)
- Keep it simple: the fewer words you use the better.
- Upper case (New York) and lower case (new york) are viewed as the same thing in Google search.
- To search for a specific phrase, use quotes (“___”). For example, if you want to search for gender-based violence issues, you can enter “gender-based violence”.
- Search within a specific website. Say you want to search the United Nations website for issues on Cameroon. You can enter cameroon site:un.org. If you want to search all government pages on the web for information on Cameroon, you can enter cameroon site:.gov. Or if you want to search all the websites in Cameroon on deforestation, you can enter deforestation site:.cm. “CM” is the country level domain for Cameroon. For a list of all top-level domains (such as for countries, governments, etc), go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains.
- Add a (-) minus sign to a word (e.g. -flowers). If you’re searching for a topic that is broad, you can add a minus sign in front of words that you do not want to appear in your search results. This can help when you are searching for popular topics.
- Fill in the blank: If you enter a term and add a * after it, the * acts as a wild card and will search for any unknown terms and find best matches. For example, if you enter domestic violence laws in *, you will get search results that are about domestic violence laws in different states and countries.
- Skip the synonyms! Sometimes when you’re searching on Google, it will automatically search for synonyms for the word you entered. If you enter a + ahead of the word you enter with no space (e.g. +climate change) it will only search for that exact word.
- Using the “OR” operator: If you want to search for one of several words, you can enter OR (capitalized!). For example, if you want to search for websites containing information about US elections in 2008 or 2012, you enter US elections 2008 OR 2012.
Google Scholar Search (http://scholar.google.com/)
Google Scholar is an amazing tool that allows you to search for “articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.”-1 This can be incredibly helpful in backing up your personal stories with global knowledge and research.
On the main page, you can search by “articles” or by “legal opinions and journals.” If you know the subject you want to search for you can enter, for example, human trafficking. You can use all of the tips from basic search here as well. Searching by legal opinions and journals on the home-page is exactly as it sounds--you are searching for specific topics only in legal opinions and journals.
With Advanced Google Scholar Search (http://scholar.google.com/advanced_scholar_search), you are able to restrict your search further. You are able to search all at once for key words, a specific author, publication, date, and subject areas.
Advanced Google Image Search (http://www.google.com/advanced_image_search?hl=en)
If you are looking for images that you can reuse within your blog posts or articles, you can use the Advanced Image Search to look specifically for pictures that are labeled for “reuse” or “modification”.
For more details about usage rights, look here: http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?&&answer=29508
Custom Google Maps
With Google Maps you can create customized, annotated maps to complement your written work. By adding descriptive text, photos, place-markers, you can bring the stories you tell to life.
For instance, if you are writing about a specific area of deforestation in your community, you can draw that area on a map and show your audience how big it actually is. Or, if you are talking about pollution from a factory, you can show your audience how close that factory is to neighborhoods and schools.
To get started create a custom Google Map, go to GoogleMaps (http://maps.google.com/) click “My Places”, and then “Create Map.” You can add place-markers, shapes, lines, photos, notes and more using their intuitive tools.
For more detailed instructions about gettings started with My Maps, please visit http://maps.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=guide.cs&guide=21670&t...
Google Plus is a fairly recent addition to Google's line of products and services. It is a social networking and content sharing platform that allows you to organize your contacts into different circles, conduct group video chats, and more. For more information about Google Plus, or to sign up today, take a look at this page from Google.