Searching that Fits

As teachers, we want to inspire and enable our students of all ages to be collectors of information and the WWW is an amazing resource…..but we don’t want our students biting off more than they can chew!  For older students a Google search might be appropriate but one size definitely doesn’t fit all in learning and the same is true for the search engines we use with our students. There are many search engines created for young learners. They are safe and provide safe access to student friendly sites. Kidrex Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 2.41.54 pmand Sweet Search are great examples of sites that are safe and appropriate for students. But my favourite is the visual search engine – InstaGrok.com. Not only is it safe – it is perfect for differentiation according to the age and ability of students. By using a simple slider at the top of the screen you can change the complexity of the search responses. Perfect for different year levels or different reading levels within the same class.

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 2.54.17 pmI love the mind map approach to sorting the information rather than lists of sites like so many standard search engines and InstaGrok provides access to summarised key facts,related websites, videos, images and students can even take notes and lets students keep a learning journal within the site. This visual search engine and interactive concept map works beautifully.

Formative Assessment – a great site to help

We know that getting quick and accurate data during our teaching is vital to responding to student needs and guiding our practice. Does everyone “get it”? Do I need to revise, extend or move on?

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 2.07.17 pmQUIZ SOCKET is a free web site that is a simple, quick and painless way to get formative data to guide your teaching.

You don’t need to pre-prepare anything which means you can just use this site whenever it suits your needs. Just go to the site (no need to log in), get a unique code for kids to log into. Ask the question either orally or by writing it on the board and your students select A,B,C or D. Student responses come to you instantly in the form of a graph. It couldn’t be simpler and Quiz Socket makes a great exit ticket too.