We are hearing a lot recently about search engines for kids. This is a tricky issue when we get into issues of social justice and certain groups of people and topics being omitted from searches. No matter what, we always need to be vigilant with our students when it comes to searching the internet. I just don’t think we can ever find that magic search engine that would preclude us from ever needing to teach our students key Information Literacy or Digital Citizenship skills. A great reason to have Teacher-Librarians in our schools!
With that being said, did you know that you can create your own custom search engines in google?
What a great way to curate the best sites that you love to use with your students! Why not with your colleagues as well?
This could be beneficial for any number of reasons, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Choosing sites that are at more appropriate reading levels
- Choosing sites that match topics that your students need information on
- Choosing sites that are not bombarded with advertisements
- Choosing sites that are more appropriate for students with special needs ie., not as text heavy, not too many distracting visuals etc.
- Eliminating higher education websites that are difficult if not impossible to understand and read
- Adding sites that you know students have passwords and usernames to – ie., OSAPAC resources
- Maybe you just need a place to curate all of the coolest websites for kids that you have ever found!
- Maybe you want to organize all of the best Librarianship resources for staff, parents and /or community?
- Perhaps you even want to curate the best curriculum websites
- Curate top math sites to help parents help students
In essence, we are not ‘censoring’ anything per se, merely curating many sites that we as educators know to be excellent. Students still need information literacy skills. They still need to sift through the information, find the best information, cite their sources, critically think about the messages being shared. They still may come up against advertisements and will still need media literacy skills.
How to set up your own Custom Search:
- Sign into cse.google.ca
- Create Your New Search Engine:
Add Your sites to Your Custom Search Engine:
Edit the Look and Feel of Your Custom Search Engine
Invite Collaborators to Your Custom Search Engine:
Example of a Custom Search Engine I made last year for a specific project:
Or This New One that is being crowd-sourced:
Hope you found this interesting!