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Technology Integration Ideas for the Elementary School Teacher

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  • About Me

    I have been in the field of educational technology since 1988. I began as a computer teacher for Futurekids Inc. in Los Angeles. Soon after, I purchased one of their first franchises, which I operated for three years. In 1997, I began Computing for Kids, a computer enrichment program for young children, which operates in local private schools in Southern California. I earned a Master’s degree in educational technology in 2008 and for the past four years, I have served as the technology specialist at a private elementary school, teaching students in grades 1 – 5 in a computer lab setting.

    My goal with this blog is to provide elementary classroom teachers with Internet resources that will enhance their curriculum. Some websites are very simple to integrate into a lesson, and others require a more thorough approach. But there is something for every level of comfort with technology.

    Please let me know what you think!

Best Search Engines for Elementary Students

Posted by Computing for Kids on October 20, 2010

Before your students attempt to use the Internet to do research for a school project, you must first do some research yourself!  Younger elementary students should have their websites chosen for them.  Otherwise they will likely get lost online, wasting valuable class time.  Once students start inching towards middle school, they will need to know how to find resources on their own.  Instead of just doing a search using Google or Yahoo, students should be directed to more kid-friendly search engines that have been tested for their educational value.  Below are some of the safe, useful search engines that are available for students:

Sweet Search is a great search engine for students.  It offers a narrowed search by school subject, a beginner search engine for young students, a search engine for librarians, a search just for social studies subject matter, and a search just for biographies.  It also provides great advice on how to teach students to search effectively.  Click here to read the Ten Steps to a Better Search.

Boolify is a search engine that “shows” students how to conduct an effective search. Keywords are available as puzzle pieces.  Students drag a keyword puzzle piece into the search field. Then students drag a qualifying word (AND or OR) next to the keyword(s), which narrows down the search. The results are continually modified as more qualifying terms and/or keywords are added.   This search engine would be a great one to begin with when teaching students how to conduct an effective search.

KidRex is a Google custom search engine using Google Safe Search technology. The home page is a kid-friendly crayon drawing of a search box guarded by a dinosaur. This is the most basic of search engines, providing a list of links to educationally relevant websites.

Ask Kids is one of the search engines that many students are already familiar with.  In addition to the search box, there are five specialized search tools: Schoolhouse (to find educational sites), movies, games, videos and images.  After typing in a keyword for a search, Ask Kids will present a list of related sites, along with related images, a definition of the keyword(s), and options to refine or expand the search. This is a good research tool, but you may find students getting distracted by the available links to movies, games and videos.

Quintura Kids is a visual search engine. When you enter a keyword, you are presented with a list of websites.  Above this list is a cloud of words that students can click on to refine the search.   Similar to Ask Kids, Quintura for Kids also offers preset search categories: history, music, animals, sports and recreation, computers and games.

Here are some other worthwhile search engines for kids:

Fact Monster has an almanac, encyclopedia, dictionary and homework helper for research projects.

Kids Click is a filtered web search for kids created by librarians and categorized by subject.

Ivy’s Search Engines for Kids is a collection of basic and specialized search engines for students.

Searchquarium has different search engines based upon subject area and grade level.

Tech Mom includes a list of search tools for students.

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One Response to “Best Search Engines for Elementary Students”

  1. Alyssa R said

    Hi Jill,

    Thanks for acknowledging Boolify! Considering that you are interested in educational technology you may also want to check out our other tools at http://www.glean.org. We are continually improving our existing tools and creating new ones, so we appreciate any feedback that you can provide!

    Also, we would be very interested in hearing any specific ideas that you may have as to how Boolify can be used in classrooms by both teachers and students. Please feel free to get in touch with us through http://www.plml.org/contact.

    Thanks again for the recognition!

    Alyssa // PLML

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