Step 2: Assessing and Selecting Information

One of the main problems faced by primary school students is that most of the search engines target adult users. Consequently, searches often generate information that is inappropriate to their information needs.

Often primary teachers resort to doing lengthy searches for appropriate and safe websites, and then provide a list of these sites to their students. While this is an effective method of ensuring students have access to material and resources that are appropriate to their needs, it does not allow the students to begin developing the research skills that are a vital component in information literacy.

However, there are a number of search engines and resource sites designed for use by children that provide content that is suitable for particular learning levels.

Some useful research tools for students: Ask Kids provides a huge list of research resources. Each link gives a brief description of the resource and gives a suggested age for users. It is also searchable by four main KLAs (Maths, Science, History and Language Arts). Free. Pebblego is a subscription database service designed for students in the K-3 range. It has two databases available: Pebblego Animals and Pebblego Earth and Space. Both databases provide support to beginning readers through narrated text and audio assisted navigation. Sweetsearch provides a number of search tools, including a search engine for early learners (SweetSearch4Me). All web sites in Sweet search have been evaluated for suitability. SweetSearch also has content aimed at educators as well as students.

Do you know of any other research tools designed for use by primary school students? Please share these on the discussion board.