Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Technology Standards - Information Acquisition: Search Engines

My second blog is about students using search engines. There are many kid-friendly search engines available. I found several that I prefer.

As a science teacher, I have frequently used http://kids.yahoo.com/ (previously yahooligans). This site has lots of information about animals for us to research when we are working on life science and talking about animals. It also has a reference tab and encyclopedia source. The copyright on the pages I viewed was 2007 Yahoo! Inc.

Another interesting site I found was http://www.askforkids.com/. This is the kid version of the Ask Jeeves site. This site opens up to a very kid-friendly page and has a stack of books to the right of the search request line that you can click on to be subject specific.

The Google kid-friendly search engine is found at http://www.safekids.com/. It is filtered automatically by Google.

The sites listed are just a few of the many sites for children found when doing a general search for 'search engines for kids'. Most of the sites I visited use bright, vivid, colors and some even have cartoon characters to welcome children. The Google site did not have an outstanding opening page like the others but was much like the regular Google search page.

I think that with the abundance of sites that are geared toward searching the WWW and also toward children, students should not have a problem finding valid and valuable information on the 'net.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Technology Standards - Foundations

The web site I evaluated was www.readwritethink.org. This web site is an educational web site and is sponsored by the International Reading Association (www.reading.org), the National Council of Teachers of English (www.ncte.org) and the Verizon Foundation (http://foundation.verizon.com) The web site has 4 main topics of interest: Lessons, Standards, Web Resources, and Student Materials.

I searched the site and found a lesson plan that met one of the foundations TEKS that I think is very important. The TEKS met is 3b from the Grades 3-5 TEKS. This TEKS basically states that students will know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. The activity was designed to help students with research. It involved Social Studies which is a subject that I teach. The student is expected to research a state symbol then create a report on the symbol based on the research they acquired via the WWW. They would learn how to summarize information found and put it in their own words, avoiding plagiarism. The majority of the activity is done via computer so it greatly integrates technology into teaching Social Studies.

The web site was neatly organized and visually appealling to me. I did not find it hard to navigate through the web site and found all links that I encountered to be available. The site has a great number of lesson plans and even on-line interactive activities that can be completed either whole class, small group, or individually. There are lessons in several disciplines as well as multiple grade levels.

Overall, I gave this site a 34 out of 36 points. The site appears to be a reading/writing site but upon further investigation, technology is integrated in most lessons. I could not determine when the last update had been other than the copyright of 2002-2007.