Two weeks ago, I had a friend and colleague, Marylee Ang, talk to students in my Web 2.0 class as a subject-matter expert on Alberta CORE ( She joined us using Google Hangout, a Web 2.0 tool that is available through Google Apps. Alberta CORE, the Collaborative Online Resource Environment, allows students and teachers to search, access, and use digital learning resources such as videos, animations, and websites from a single web interface. This project is a collaborative initiative between Alberta Education and five Alberta school jurisdictions. Teachers and students can search and share resources using this platform once access has been granted.  Currently in CBE, staff can search and contribute, but students can only search.  Hopefully in Fall 2013, students will be granted access to contribute as well.

CORE Logo copy

As a follow-up activity to our guest speaker, students were asked to compare searching in Google to searching in CORE.  Students we directed to chose a topic, and report on what their search.  Here is what some students reported:

Student 1: Perpendicular Bisectors


  1. You get image results
  2. Google actually gives you information
  3. Google show you videos
  4. Everything is more organized on Google
  5. More easy to use
  6. Get many search results


  1. Get fast search results
  2. Get most popular sources first
  3. Few sources, however most important sources
  4. Could share a save your sources
  5. Could rate sources for the benefit of your fellow class mates 

Student 2: DDT

  1. I searched “DDT” which is a pesticide that is outlawed in North America as it hurts the food chain through biomagnifications
  2. In core every link I looked at was relevant and from a source that I could trust, limiting the time it took for me to find what I wanted.  The links had variety and were very easy to use; it allowed me to find what best suited me. Core was also linked to learn Alberta, and other online resources so all my educational sources were considered in my search
  3. Google on the other hand had millions of searches not limiting me to approved sources. I was able to see images separately so creating a slide show or putting pictures in a word document was easier the core. Goggle was also allot more friendly for home use with YouTube, maps, Gmail, drive and calendar all available at the click of a button
  4. Things that CORE could do include, adding a image search section where only sources like national geographic and discovery channel only displaying images and users would be restricted along with blogs and other tools that are free to the public. 

Student 3: Biology

  1. When I searched biology on Google, it lead me to the first page that was through Wikipedia & had more a of a general coverage of the topic. It didn’t really help me with any specific topic.
  2. When I searched biology on core it gave me way more specific information, lead me to videos specific topics, & way more information for a person who didn’t know anything about it.

Overall I would choose core over Google, if I was in school & needed to do research because, it gives you a lot more resources and videos, links, websites, etc.


Alternatively, I gave students the option to do a general comparison of CORE vs. Google.  Below, is the response from one student:

Advantages of using CORE

  • CORE is a very educational site
  • CORE offers very accurate searches
  • CORE is a great site for learning

Disadvantages of using CORA

  • CORE has very limited search results
  • CORE sometimes has very limited information

Advantages of using Google

  • Google has many search results
  • Google has lots of information
  • Google searches are very accurate

Disadvantages of using Google

  • Google searches may lead to false information    


Overall, students quite enjoyed our guest speaker joining us via Google Hangout – I definitely recommend others try this in their classroom.  In regards to CORE, students quite liked the concept, some even showing interest in being able to share their own work in the future.  As we move forward in teaching students good digital citizenship, those school jurisdictions should consider orienteering students on how to use this platform at the beginning of the year. In addition, suggesting students start their searches here instead of with Google may help learners see the benefits of this platform over generic searching.   


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