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Finding My Way: How GPS and Internet Navigation Intersect

By Dan Balzer

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stadiumnumber 1My brother-in-law, Jon, and I were taking my three nephews to watch a Chicago Fire soccer match at the new stadium about 30 miles from my home. We’d never been to the stadium and as usual, we were running late. "Do you have directions?" I asked as we hurried out the door.

"No, but it's already programmed into the car." He answered with a confident smile.

number 2 gps acura I didn't know what he meant until a 5x7 full color satellite-enabled GPS screen lit up on the dashboard." He used the toggle wheel to scroll through the menu to our pre-programmed destination."

number 3 A detailed map appeared showing the exact location of our car (accurate within 10 yards). As we pulled out of the driveway, the GPS immediately adjusted the map indicating a turn-by-turn path to the stadium, including distance and estimated time of arrival. We were on our way!

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We were cruising along the highway making good time. Then we got to a major intersection and I doubted the GPS's advice based on my knowledge of the roads. I checked the destination again by zooming out to a broader view of the route we were supposed to follow. In seconds we were back on track.

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Less than a mile from our destination we missed a turn, and the GPS immediately adjusted, giving us an alternate route. The GPS certainly knew more about finding the best route than we did. We arrived at the game, just minutes after kick-off, and enjoyed the evening together.

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I began thinking about that amazing GPS guided ride and searching on the Internet. Imagine how much time and energy we would save if we had a GPS embedded in our browsers that kept us focused on what we were looking for.  It could steer us clear of dead-end web pages, provide alternate hyperlinks and put us on the path to the best information.

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Then it dawned on me that anyone  proficient at online reading and searching has internalized the same characteristics as that GPS.

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For example, like the GPS, an expert searcher is relentlessly focused on the destination - aggressively scanning for better keywords in snippets and then browsing text quickly to determine whether the page and links are the most direct route to the best quality information.

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Like the GPS, expert searchers self-correct the instant they see a page that is off-topic or un-related. Such as clicking the browser Back button to return to a more effective path.

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Like the GPS, fluent searchers are efficient. They resist the urge to click on time-consuming ads or tantalizing off topic links. To sum it up, the GPS and the fluent searcher share the same powerful characteristic focus.

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Do you want to develop your own internal Internet GPS? The Gold Rush Tutorial Games in this Resource Kit provide hands-on practice and instant feedback to develop online reading and mental discipline to enhance your search effectiveness. The Tutorial Games have an un-timed version for practice and a timed version to put your Internet GPS to the test.gold rush tutorial games

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So give the game a try - it's the most direct route to digital information fluency!