The VSTE Board of Directors and Conference Committee are excited to have you join us at the 32nd Annual Technology in Education Conference. #VSTE17 promises to be the best ever.

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Sunday, December 3 • 3:15pm - 4:15pm
How Google Works: Are Search Engines Really Dumb and Should Educators Care

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Google is the first place that students visit when conducting research. Students don’t conduct research, they google a topic. However, most do not know how Google works to determine the results for a search query. This session, citing the most current 2016-2017 sources from Google, will explain how Google works to determines the results returned for a search query. The goal of the presentation is to provide educators with the knowledge to influence students to integrate Google, along with the library databases, into their research process.
The presentation will focus on the on-page and the off-page factors that searchers can exploit to construct better search queries. Attendees will learn about the importance of the locations of words on a webpage; for example, words in the title of the webpage and terms in the webpage address. Attendees will learn about the importance of links as the most important factor that Google considers when ranking results.
This knowledge will dispel the myth that Google ranks webpages based on the popularity of the webpage. Other myths dismissed are that Google understands the words used in a search query, that Google accepts payment for placing webpages at the top of the results, and that Google always returns the best results. Two search queries, one on Martin Luther King and another on Zionist history will prove that Google does not return the best webpages for a query. To prove that assertion, an examination of the links to the webpages returned for the queries will demonstrate that links to a webpage to determine the ranking of results, even when the webpage is racist or anti-Semitic. Attendees will learn that not all links are equal; for instance, links from .edu and .gov sites and some .org sites, like Wikipedia.org, are more important factors to Google when measuring the quality of links.
After attending this session, educators will understand how Google ranks results and, more importantly, they will have the knowledge to teach and guide their students to use Google and the library databases.


Paul Barron

Adjunct Instructor (Civil Engineering Dept.), Virginia Military Institute
Retired Director of Library Archives George C. Marshall Foundation.Teach introduction to online research in the civil engineering depart at VMI.

Sunday December 3, 2017 3:15pm - 4:15pm EST
Brush Mountain