Betting on the Right Google Jockey

Article excerpt

There's a new buzz phrase in classroom practice these days: "Google Jockey." Self-confessed coiner, Michael Naimark, who teaches at the Interactive Media Division of the USC School of Cinema/Television, asked for a student volunteer to search the Web during his presentation. The search results were projected on a screen adjacent to the professor's own presentation. Students, then, were able to see two screens of content, one expounding on or commenting on the other.

Naimark, who has a deep background in interactive media - and was teaching a class on the same subject - came up with a clever phrase for what is safe to assume was an effective and appropriate application for his students.

Flash forward to Educause publishing a paper on Google Jockeys, and another même escapes its cage to grow and mutate in the general environment. Before this cute little creature becomes a hydraheaded monster, we should build a new cage around him.

The way the phrase is being used currently, a Google Jockey can either use a pre-planned list of URLs, loading each in turn as the subject comes up, or could perform live searches on the subjects and display what he or she has found.

The first definition, the preplanned list, is actually (for the Internet) an old idea. It's called a Web tour, and has been around in chat programs since at least the mid-1990s. A user would "push"-type in and send-a URL and everyone in the chat room would load the same page. A Web tour, either as a stand-alone experience, or combined with other content on a second screen the teacher is presenting, can be very effective. For instance, the teacher has a PowerPoint slide showing bullet points on the Spanish Inquisition (bet you weren't expecting that), while an adjacent screen shows a drawing of Queen Isabella.

One can argue about what exactly to show, how the two content screens can be synergistic rather than distracting, and so on, but for generations that demand greater visual stimuli, a "two -screen" solution to classroom presentations could conceivably be very effective. …