Tried Beaucoup.com. Noticed some spelling mistakes. Looked at ‘Medical Science Engine’- Consumer Medicine-Healthy.net (Medline) It looked like the search engine does a Google Search, although when I tested both, Medline was more ‘medical’. Google had more ‘.coms’, Medline had more ‘.nets’. Some results were dated, had no dates and claimed they were not doctors.
Tried ‘Hot Topics Google Search’(Google Custom search) – last updated 25/8/10. Nothing on ‘volcanoes’.
‘Surfwax’ – visual searching. Searched on ‘volcano’, not ‘volcanoes’. Result = similar (crater, vent), broader (crevice, cleft, mountain, mount), narrower (Mt Etna, Mt Vesuvius). Listed Yahoo, AlltheWeb, LookSmart,MSN as engines searched – in 894 milliseconds.
Tried ‘Boolify’ from ‘Knowledge 2.0 (Hey Jude Blog). A need to explain Boolean Logic to students before using. Searched ‘volcanoes’ OR ‘craters’ – looked like a ‘Google search’ – some rubbish (ie. commercial, unrelated sites)
Schrock, Kathleen (2002), ‘The ABCs of website evaluation’
I agree that students and teachers are mostly using online information – it is now a Primary source (books are a last resort!). There are some very poorly ‘built’ websites. I use the example with my students that a ‘Yr 2 child up the road could have created the website on volcanoes’ v’s an expert in the field. I strongly agree with Schrock’s point about the use of online resources. She says they can only be effective if students have some background knowledge, know key terms and apply effective search strategies (Schrock, 2002)
TL Additional questions:
1) Does the site satisfy the purpose of the research task?
2) Does it allow for differentiation, suit the age group?
3) Can you trust the author information given? How? Would you email the author to verify?
Authenticate author information on other sites?
4) Look for unsubstantiated facts
5) How can you detect bias? What questions should you ask yourself?
ie. Are both sides presented? Is it American information?
6) Is the site easy to use? Fast to load? Password protected? School firewall problems?
Will students get lost or distracted? The 3-click rule?
7) Ask how information literacy skills are being learned as students use websites?
This is another one. We are always careful with this as we’re never too sure about the unfortunate name.
We use this site (University of North Carolina) with our Upper Primary and Junior Secondary students.