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Adventures in Zunal Land

  October 18th, 2011

Ok, I’ll admit up front that I did not devote what one could call ‘quality’ time to the webquest assignment involving zunal.com. That is, unless keeping one eye on the monitor and one eye on my son’s homework can be called ‘quality’. But hey, such is life. Something tells me many others out there deal with these same quality issues.

In a way, restricting the activity to simple searches on a handful of search engines was beneficial. It revealed how restrictive it is to use only general words or terms. In my case, I used the word wilderness, or term wilderness management. In future searches, I would be a bit more specific about the topic I’m seeking help with. Rather than simply using wilderness, I’ll try wilderness recreation, wilderness and fire management, or something similar.

I used four search engines: Ted.com, Merlot.org, YouTube Edu, and Science Daily. When entering the term wilderness management, only one of the four came up empty:

merlot.org result for ‘wilderness management’

Success with the other engines varied. The best result was with Science Daily:

sciencedaily.com result for 'wilderness management'

I was reminded of how liberally the word ‘wilderness’ is used in science and natural resource circles. It is seemingly used to refer to a variety of lands containing some type of wild character. Even in the Science Daily reference, I am not convinced that this technology would actually be used in wilderness areas. The Wilderness Act of 1964 mandates that no mechanized use be allowed in wilderness areas. There are caveats of course, but I don’t believe this is the case with the technology referenced by Science Daily.

Overall, though my search results this time around were less than stellar, I the exercise opened my eyes to some new sources of information. I imagine that I will use zunal.com again, or simply utilize one of the engines contained within. Of course, it pays to enter the activity with a specific, focused topic in mind. Otherwise, time slips away (and leaves you with nothing mister, but…)

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9 Responses to “Adventures in Zunal Land”

  1. Dave, I enjoyed reading your post on your search experience. You make a good point about the casual use of “wilderness.” I taught Geography of US & Canada here at OSU for many years, and–in the course of discussing public lands–I learned over and over that students perceived wilderness in diverse ways, ranging from local greenspaces to the most heavily-used national parks of the West. The concept of the Wilderness Act and federal designation of “Wilderness” areas was generally far outside the experience of all but a few hardy backpackers.

    Good post!

    Cub Kahn
    Ctr. for Teaching & Learning

    Comment by Cub Kahn - October 19th, 2011 @ 5:55 pm
  2. boring stories of …. Glory Days … yeah, they’ll pass you by …

    Sorry, if someone starts singing, I can’t quite resist the urge to jump in and sing along. 🙂

    A note on the form of your blog post: The visual with “No Results Found” is so much more powerful and engaging than if you had simply typed out the text.

    I wonder if you couldn’t make some sort of exercise that asked students to compare and contrast the way the term “wilderness” is used in various scientific sources. That might be a good activity to help them develop a proper definition of the term.

    Comment by Shannon Riggs - October 20th, 2011 @ 3:59 pm
  3. I understand now some of my wilderness experiences as a result of your post. I did not realize that machinery was not allowed in the wilderness areas.

    Now I get it…

    I am with Shannon, too, the visual with no results found was powerful. I could actually accept something like that from a student. It helps to see what terms were used in search.

    Comment by Olga Rowe - October 24th, 2011 @ 4:35 pm
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