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 and 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.
I 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.