Showing posts with label Kid Safe Search Engine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kid Safe Search Engine. Show all posts

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Waiting for InstaGrok

InstaGrok is a promising new academic search engine and bookmarking service that I've written about twice this spring (here and here). Unfortunately, according to their Twitter posts, they have had a server crash. If you're trying to use the service today, bear in mind that it might not be working completely or at all right now. Even though they Tweeted that it's back online, not everything appears to be functioning correctly. I'm sure they are doing their best to get everything restored quickly.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Searchy Pants - A Safe Search Engine for Kids

EdCamp Boston was held on Saturday and even though I couldn't make it in person, I did follow along with some of the Posterous updates about the day. One of the Posterous updates included the list of resources shared during the apps and tools Smackdown session. In that list was a new-to-me search engine called Searchy Pants.

Searchy Pants uses Google Custom search to provide a safe search environment for students. But Searchy Pants offers more than just a simple search engine. You can customize the page on which students search by choosing from a variety of fun background themes. Once you've chosen a theme you can add links to your page that you want students to see. For example, you might link to your school's website or link to a site like CNN Student News. You can also post a custom message for your students to read before searching.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a safe search engine for your students to use without actually creating your Google Custom Search Engine, Searchy Pants could be a good tool for you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Seven Search Engines for Students

A major concern that teachers, parents, librarians, and school administrators have whenever their students search for information on the Internet is having the students stumble across inappropriate materials. One way to alleviate that fear is to create your own search engine using Google Custom Search, but that could become very time-consuming. Another option is to have students use search engines intended for academic and or child use. Here are seven search engines for students of all ages.

Sweet Search is a search engine that searches only the sites that have been reviewed and approved by a team of librarians, teachers, and research experts. In all there are 35,000 websites that have been reviewed and approved by Sweet Search. In addition to the general search engine, Sweet Search offers five niche search engines. The niche search engines are for Social Studies, Biographies, SweetSites (organized by grade and subject area), School Librarians, and Sweet Search 4 Me (for elementary school students).

KidRex is a new kid-safe search engine powered by Google custom search. KidRex uses a combination of Google's safe search mode and their own database of filtered keywords, phrases, and websites. In the event that a questionable website does get past the filters, KidRex has a site removal request form.

Ref Seek is a search engine designed for academic use. Ref Seek seems to eliminate the advertising and paid links found on Google, Ask, Yahoo, and other commercial search engines. Ref Seek's intention is to serve only search results that are academic in nature. The difference between Ref Seek and a generic Google search lies lower than the top results in search returns. As you compare search results between Ref Seek and Google you will find that the second and third pages of search results on Ref Seek contain results that seem to be more "academic" than what is found on the second and third pages of a generic Google search.

Famhoo is another option for kid friendly searches. Famhoo draws on the collective results of the major search mainstream search engines like Google, AOL, and Yahoo. Famhoo simply provides a stricter family filter than the filters available on mainstream search engines.

Ask Kids is the kid friendly, kid safe version of the popular search engine Ask.com. Ask Kids is divided into five categories of which one is a general search option. The five categories are School House, movies, games, images, and video. The School House category provides students with suggested topics and links to resources for those topics. The School House also serves as a general search tool. In the other search categories Ask Kids makes suggestions for search refinement. A great aspect of the search results that Ask Kids provides is the option to refine searches based on a student's age. Thanks to Joy Kirr for pointing out that this resource is no longer online.

Wolfram Alpha is billed as a computational search engine and this is exactly what it does. If students have any questions involving numbers, Wolfram Alpha is the place to go. Wolfram Alpha can be used for other searches, but it's not nearly as useful for general inquiries as it is for computational questions.
Google Scholar is one of Google's lesser-known tools. Google Scholar is a search engine designed to search scholarly journals, Supreme Court records, and patent records. In some cases the results will link to abstracts of books and articles that you will then have to obtain from a library or book retailer. In other cases results will link to fully viewable documents.
Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results
Mashpedia - The Real-time Encyclopedia
Wolfram Alpha for Educators - Free Lesson Plans

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Zoodles - A Free Kid-Friendly Web Browser

Zoodles is a web browser designed for use by children eight years old and younger. Zoodles provides a safe environment of screened and preselected web-based activities for education and entertainment. When you register to download Zoodles you're given the option to enter your child's age. Zoodles uses that information to provide your child with age appropriate activities. You can also specify if your child has a vision or hearing impairment and Zoodles will use that information to provide your child with appropriate activities accessible to him or her. Installing and using Zoodles is 100% free. Zoodles also offers some premium add-ons such as activity reports and custom settings for a fee.

Watch the video below to learn more about Zoodles.


Applications for Education
If you work in a preschool setting or in an early elementary school setting, Zoodles could be a great alternative to Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer. Even children who cannot read yet can use Zoodles because of the clear layout and spoken directions provided by Zoodles.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Safe Computing Tools for Kids - Windows Based
KidRex - Kid Safe Search
Welcome to the Web

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Page It - Homepages for Kids

Update: As a reader pointed out in the comments, My Page It does ask for a small ($1) payment to activate parental controls. I did not notice this until I investigated the finer print. I apologize for any inconvenience my oversight may have caused.

My Page It or Mypage.it is a service providing personalized, customizable homepages for five to eleven year old kids. My Page It allows kids to customize their pages with different backgrounds, themes, avatars, videos, games, and other widgets which My Page It call kidgets. Kids can begin to develop Internet search skills by through the safe search engine developed by My Page It. There is also a social networking element of My Page It which allows kids to share their pages with other kids in the My Page It network. In order to share pages, parents have to approve the sharing action each time their children want to share with someone new.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Kido'z - A Kid-Safe Browser

Kido'z is a kid-safe web browser. Kido'z gives parents the power to select the websites that their children can view. After installing Kido'z, parents set an administrative password and begin specifying the websites that their children see. Unlike some browsers and filters that try to be kid-friendly, Kido'z blocks all links that appear inside the parent-approved websites. If parents are looking for new web content that their children can safely enjoy, Kido'z will offer suggestions based on the age, gender, and native language of the child.

The user interface of Kido'z is designed to be used by children as young as three. Children can navigate Kido'z using kid-friendly icons. Kido'z tries to make content easy to find by dividing it into three categories games, videos, and websites.

If you would like to learn about the technology and design behind Kido'z, TechCrunch has a post about it.

Applications for Education
Kido'z could be a good browser for pre-K through second grade students. Parents, teachers, and child care providers should give Kido'z a try.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
KidZui
KidRex
Ask Kids

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kindernet Appears to be Fixed

Through a comment from Mark at Kindernet we now know that it wasn't Kindernet that was hacked, but some of the sites within the search engine that were hacked. Mark informs us that Kindernet has fixed the problem (read about the problems here). I just tested the fixed version of Kindernet by trying a wide variety of "health education" terms including the terms that generated the inappropriate results yesterday. Kindernet has been fixed and can safely be used again.

The experience with Kindernet over the last 24 hours reminds us that we should always carefully explore any web resource before taking it live into the classroom.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

KidRex - Kid Safe Search

KidRex is a new kid-safe search engine powered by Google custom search. KidRex uses a combination of Google's safe search mode and their own database of filtered keywords, phrases, and websites. In the event that a questionable website does get past the filters, KidRex has a site removal request form.

Applications for Education
When parents ask about web filters or express concern about their children finding inappropriate websites, KidRex may be a resource to recommend to them. Likewise, you may also want to recommend these safe computing tips from Tekzilla.

Monday, December 8, 2008

KidZui Gets a Firefox Extension and Offers a Free Version

In March I wrote a blog post about KidZui. At the time KidZui only offered a stand-alone, kid safe, web browser at a cost of $9.95/ month. Since I wrote that blog post KidZui has made some changes including offering a free version of their web browser and lowered the pricing structure for their premium plans.

Today, I learned through CNET that KidZui now offers a free Firefox extension. The extension turns Firefox into a kid safe browser that filters inappropriate content and prevents kids from accidentally deleting files that parents want to save. You can get the KidZui extension here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wow! Ask Kids is Very Impressive

Wow! The recently redesigned Ask Kids search engine is very very impressive! Ask Kids is the kid friendly, kid safe version of the popular search engine Ask.com. The first thing that new visitors to Ask Kids will notice is the notebook paper theme and five search categories. Then visitors will notice the drawing tools in the lower right hand corner of the home page. The drawing tools don't seem to have much purpose other than just providing tools to customize the Ask Kids homepage (clearing cookies resets the homepage). On the other hand, the five search categories are very useful and easy to navigate.

Ask Kids is divided into five categories of which one is a general search option. The five categories are School House, movies, games, images, and video. The School House category provides students with suggested topics and links to resources for those topics. The School House also serves as a general search tool. In the other search categories Ask Kids makes suggestions for search refinement. A great aspect of the search results that Ask Kids provides is the option to refine searches based on a student's age.

Applications for Education
Ask Kids is a great search tool for elementary school and middle school students. The suggested search refinements are a great model for teaching students how to alter their Internet search terms to find the information for which they are looking. The "filter by age" option is useful for parents trying to help their child find information appropriate for their grade level.