Search Coach in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft recently rolled out a new app in Teams that will help both students and teachers be more effectve and careful in their online queries.

When using Search Coach students will get a tip at the top of their results based on the type of query and the information they are seeking. Search Coach also provides analysis of the sources by showing NewsGuard ratings for each site listed in the results and identifies information about the domain and What Searach Coach does differently than other tools is provide a scaffolded environment and focuses on helping users ask better questions. Over time Search Coach will help users see patterns that will strengthen their ability to identify and detect false or misleading information.

This controlled environment is a safe place free of advertising for students to practice before heading out to apply those skills on tools like Google and Bing. Search allows the educator powerful controls over the search experience, including the ability to create filters that limit results by domain, filetype, date range and operators. They can also activate fact-check resources.

By itself, this app is a great, autonomous way to help build digital literacy in our students and improve everyone’s ability to find the information they are looking for and to help equip them with better misinformation detectors. However, Microsoft has also put together a series of lessons that teachers can adapt to their classrooms.

Finally, Search Coach provides analytics through Class Insights about the searches conducted by their students providing data on the the n umber of searches by students, the percentage of time they open the first results and none of the results. It also collects and displays data on domains shown and common search terms by the students.

Read on below to find out how to get started.

Setting Up In Teams

Open Teams and then click into the Team you want to enable the Search Coach app.

Navigate to a channel you’d like to use for Search Coach. Then click the + button near to the Posts tab. This will open a window allowing you to seach for apps to display. Query for Search Coach (look for greean square with a magnifying glass), click it and then add it.

Using Search Coach

In addition to getting tips, search coach also provides four different types of filters that students can use to narrow results and learn about the effect and impact of each. When students click into these filters (Domain, File Types, Date Range and Operators) they are provided with scaffolds and explainers about how that particular filter affects search results. Walking students through these is a great opportunity to help students learn about the impact of these different aspects of search.

Teacher Settings in Search Coach

Search Coach gives teachers the ability to control the experience for their studetns. This includes the ability to toggle fitlers and add information from fact checkers. There is also the ability to create a curated search that limits students to sites you enter (FYI – this uses the site domain and limits search results to anywhere on that site but not just a single page.)

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