Have you ever done a Google search and then spent hours trying to find exactly what you are looking for? I recently did a search for "Georgia Habitats" with a third grade class and we got 3.2 million results in less than half a second. Imagine being in elementary school and trying to wade through that amount of information. Help turn searching into researching for your kids by following some simple tips:
1- Encourage them to Use a kid friendly search engine: These search engines operate in the same way that full scale search engines do but they filter some inappropriate content. They are not perfect and won't take the place of our little researchers doing some thinking on their own about what website is right for them.
Ask kids http://www.askkids.com/
Yahoo Search for Kids http://kids.yahoo.com/
Google Safe Search http://www.google.safesearchweb.com/
Bookmark these search engines so your child can easily find them
2- Use quotation marks: The search engine will look for those exact words in that exact order
3- Use a minus sign: Adding a minus sign right in front of any word (no space in between) indicates that you don’t want those words to appear in the search (ex. Saturn –cars will give you info about the planet, not the car)
4- Adding more words will narrow your search (“Apple” will lead to millions of results but “Red Delicious Apple” will lead to fewer, “Red Delicious Apple, nutrition information” will narrow the results even further)
5- Explain sponsored links or advertisements so your child so they understand not to click on those links for information.
6- Try to reinforce some skills for searching that will help students learn to locate the right sites for them. As they get older they will need to make these choices independently.
- Is it appropriate?
- Is it written so you can understand it?
- Does it answer your questions?
- Are the pictures and other illustrations helpful?
- Is the content appropriate for you to read
- Are the facts correct? Check them using databases, other websites and yes... even books.
- Can you find out who has written the website? Is the author an expert on the topic?
For more information on effective searching techniques go to Common Sense Media