Last summer Microsoft announced a new Teams product that would be rolling to education users over the coming school year. That product is called Search Coach and it appears to now be widely available to all Microsoft Teams education users.
As its name implies, Search Coach in Microsoft Teams provides students with tips to improve their search methods. The tips provided are based on students’ search behaviors.
There’s more to Search Coach than just providing search tips to students. Teachers can use Search Coach to get insight into their students’ search behaviors. The insights provided to teachers include number of searches attempted, links opened, and search terms used.
Another notable aspect of Search Coach is the ability to restrict search results according to domain type, file type, and date. Teachers can also enable restrictions on search operators.
Mike Tholfsen recently published a detailed video overview of all aspects of Search Coach. You can watch his video here or as embedded below.
Applications for Education
Microsoft currently offers a half-dozen lesson plans that incorporate the use of Search Coach.
I think Search Coach could be a valuable tool for coaching students through the search process. That said, I’m afraid that some people might use it as a tool to simply block students’ access to some parts of the Internet without teaching them how to improve their search behaviour. But the same could be said for just about any web filtering tools.
If you’re interested in learning even more about search and teaching search there are two resources I recommend. First, Dan Russell’s The Joy of Search should be in every school’s library of resources for teachers. Second, I offer a self-paced course on search strategies students need to know.