Do you find researching with elementary age students to be a real challenge?
(If yes- keep reading! OK- and if you don’t have time to read, at least watch the demo video at the bottom of this post!)
Just setting students loose on a search engine is not an option. Even though we have a strict filter set at Google, there is so much sifting that has to take place. The more we scroll, the further we get away from our topic usually. Then there is the readability issue. I know we can use the Advanced Search at Google to choose a reading level, but even then I still find the results are not always what we want as well as the format is a bit cumbersome for the elementary level. Things need to be a little more straightforward.
Perhaps, something that came across my radar last week is the answer to our searching woes: instaGrok.
instaGrok is a search engine with a very visual appeal. It allows students to set the complexity of the information searched with a simple toggle bar. The results are easy to navigate from a web or on a sidebar. The key facts are quickly offered up in their own category. Perfect for elementary searchers! The sidebar also offers more websites, videos, pictures and even quizzes- all on the topic. So far all of my random test searches have yielded appropriate, and even great results.
But wait there’s more! A bonus feature of this site is a built-in journal for students to use for their research, gathering all information, links and pictures all in one place. It’s a snap to use, too. No multiple steps necessary!
This free site can be used with or without a log-in. The advantage of getting a log-in is that you can save your journal pages for an extensive research project. The sign up requires no email. (“Yay” again for elementary!) When a teacher signs up for an account, s/he can assign a class code. This class code is used by students when they set up their accounts. It links the teacher to the students, and the teacher now can see student journal pages and keep better tabs on student research.
If you research with students (and have felt the frustrations), then it’s well worth the minute and half to check out this demo of a search engine designed for students- instaGrok:
Anyone using this site already? I’m looking to get a collaboration going in my school!