Sunday, August 29, 2010

Your Search Has Never Been Sweeter...

One of the challenges teachers face when teaching kids about content on the Internet is evaluation. It can be difficult for kids (especially the younger ones) to know or be able to see that even if a website looks fancy the information it contains can be misleading or flat out wrong.

Most times when kids are giving an assignment the first place they go is Google which can lead them to sites in their quest for information that might not be what we as educators want them to have or, again, could be just plain wrong.

Enter Sweet Search.

When students enter a search term into Sweet Search you know they results they are going to get have been vetted by an educator or librarian for their relativity and content. Results from trusted sources like the Library of Congress, universities and PBS appear higher in the search results.

When results are returned there aren't tens of thousands of results. What is returned is the 20 best sites for the term, again, all evaluated and ranked for their relevance and content. One of the neatest features is the ability to send search results right to Google Docs so if your students have accounts or you have Apps for Ed that is very handy. But there is also the ability to bookmark the results so students can come back later on. There are some really great widgets for your website also so kids can go to one location like a homework page on your website for easy access.

But Sweet Search isn't the only resource here. Sweet Search 4 Me is a search engine for early elementary students. Sweet Search 2 Day is a nifty site where kids can learn something new everyday. Sweet Search Biography has 1000+ bios of significant persons in history. And there are tons more sites and applications to check out.

Sweet Search is part of a larger site call FindingDulcinea. Calling itself the Libraian of the Internet, FindingDulcinea is a treasure trove of information for the classroom. From their great web guides on every topic imaginable (my favorite is the one on Internet Resources) to their articles that aim to take kids beyond the headlines and give them all the information, FindingDulcinea is a wonderful website that you should add to your list to give to kids. And if you have kids where Spanish is their native language or your are teaching Spanish, they have "EncontrandoDulcinea" for them!

FindingDulcinea has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed with lots of great information too. Be sure to subscribe to their blog for regular updates.

So as the school year is starting, be sure to check out Sweet Search and FindingDulcinea. Two of my favorite and "must use" websites this year!
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