Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Safe Searches for Inquiry Projects

I have been asked this question a lot lately, as spring is here and many teachers are focusing on awesome inquiry and research projects in their classrooms:  What is the best place for students to safely search for facts and information about their topic?

There are some great search engines that are filtered for students, as well as apps like YouTube Kids and KidzSearch that provide great, kid-friendly information on a topic.  Common Sense Media prepared a list of recommended search sites, as well as age recommendations for each.  Common Sense Media also has wonderful FREE resources for teaching digital citizenship to students, including this video in which a student talks about using good keywords and conducting a search for information.
I put together a Participate Learning collection of my favorite tools to use for kid-safe research; both web sources and iPad apps.  
I also created a Symbaloo that would be helpful for students to directly access the safe search engines available to them.  Of this list, I have used Kid Rex the most, however, they are all very good sites. It's a preference for you, your kids and their age group and what's most appropriate for them.
It is always good to preview the sites, to see what students will see and be sure there will be enough information available for their projects.  Another idea is to provide students with links directly to "safe" articles that you have discovered about certain topics.  You could place these links into a Symbaloo for students to access, or if you use Seesaw, you can send these links out to your students using Seesaw!  These are quick, easy ways to share URLs with your kids!

If you have another favorite search engine or app that you use for inquiry, please share it in the comments!

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