A New Wave in Searching

One of the new 21st century skills that every student will need to have and use, is the ability to search effectively in this glut of information that we call the World Wide Web. And now, as great teachers, we have a wonderful new tool to help us with this endeavor! The best part, is that I learned about it from one of my students. It just amazes me how much I learn from them!

Actually, I’m not quite sure exactly how great of a tool it is? Let me back up and start by telling you what it is before I make a value judgement or make you engage your brain.

ChaCha.com is a new (don’t know exactly how new) search engine with the unique ability to HELP you search. No literally, there is another person who helps you search. You have the option to search on your own, but if you are having difficulty mining through the chasm that is the World Wide Web, you can use a guide. There is a chat feature that connects you with a “search expert” who can help you with your search. The far left hand side of the window is a live chat with your personal "search expert," while the center is set aside for displaying the links he/she has found. Finally, someone who can hold our hand as we stumble our way through millions of webpage.

My initial reaction was that of pure joy! I was skipping around telling everyone about this brand-new resource when I tragically realized that my students potentially may not ever need to learn how to search! Someone else can do that for them? After a moment of educational despair, I had a conversation with our Youth Director and local LHS Freshman English teacher Dan Stec who reminded me that we love choice! Those people who want to use the guided search WILL and those who don’t want to WON’T. Nothing will change. The divide will still be there. Instead of the divide being between rich and poor, it will now be between the (Please forgive the word usage) the smart and everyone else. As Jesus did say, “You will always have the poor among you.”

Check it out for yourselves. Give it a spin and let me know what you think?


Our latest ice storm in the St. Louis area pretty much turned our weekend upside down. At the writing of this post, there are still people in our surrounding area without power. Ahhh... electricity.

Who would have thought that tiny electrons flowing through some copper wire could bring so much joy? Heat, hot water, and of course the soft glow of a computer screen. Suprisingly enough, I wasn't lost at all over the weekend when we lost power. A well deserved "rest was had by my trusty compadre "Mr. Computer." It was interesting however to listen to comments made Tuesday during lunch. Our Special Ed. consultant talked about wanting to run to her computer and check weather.com for the latest radar images to track the progress of the storm, only to remember she had no electricity. What a sign of the times.

It is almost mind boggling how much we have come to depend on our tools. Do you think our students depend on them to??

Have you ever considered how fragile the technical world really is? When our PTL was putting in new playground equipment, they accidentally sliced into our phone line. No phone and NO INTERNET ACCESS...Noooo...say it ain't so!!
Just think of the world we experience on a daily basis over 15 wires. Your world, through 15 wires. What a sobering thought. The funny thing is, I'm almost OK with that. How about you??