One of the activities that students are frequently asked to do is search for information on current and historical events from around the world. The issue is that when students perform a search, they typically are not searching in a manner that will provide results that offer different perspectives.
For example, if a student is asked to research the causes of World War II, they are most likely going to do a Google Search for “Causes World War II” or something along those lines. They will read the first few articles and assume they have all of the facts they need. The problem is that they do not view any results that provide more global answers to this question. There is a simple change they can make to their search that will improve their results. Once they enter their search, they can either go into the Search Settings or Advanced Settings and change the region where the search takes place. If students are searching in the United States, they will see very different results than when they set the region to Japan or Germany.
Students can also search results from different countries without modifying anything in the setting by using country codes on the omnibox. A search for causes of World War II using results from Germany would look like this: “site:de Causes World War II.”
Applications for Education
It is imperative that students are taught how to critically evaluate information and how to view events from a multitude of perspectives. We need to emphasis the importance of locating quality results and not assume that students know how to complete good Google searches.
Update on 10/28/17- Ironically, just hours after this post was published, Google will no longer allow you to change the country code using the omnibox. You will have to select the country you wish to search in the actual settings as described in the second paragraph.
You can learn more search strategies in the on-demand webinar, Search Strategies Students Need to Know.