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Google’s Zeitgeist 2010 is a powerful tool “[b]ased on the aggregation of billions of search queries people typed into Google […]” (http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/zeitgeist2010/, last access: January 9th, 2011).
For my EFL lessons, I use it the following way:
1. Tune in
Ask students which words/terms were typed into Google the most in 2010. Collect the ideas, write them on the blackboard.
2. Show Video
Tell them that this is a video by Google showing an excerpt of the most popular search queries in 2010. Show the Video “Zeitgeist 2010” to the class.
3. Talk about it
After the video – form groups – let students discuss what they have seen. Then – in plenum – they should present what they’ve found out. They should provide facts about these events. Students are invited to argue whether they can understand why certain people searched for certain words that often or not. In addition, ask students which word/notion they (personally) typed in the most and why.
4. Follow-up (Computer lab, Netbook classes, etc.)
Provide the following link: http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/zeitgeist2010/
Students should browse the website trying to come up with certain trends. Tell them to pick their favorite query from each category (fastest rising, fastest falling, etc.). Using adequate phrases (e.g. phrases expressing their point of view) they should present their results after some time of research.
Simple, but very effective. Enjoy.