Mark describes the new tools and urges us to share our feedback:
We’re releasing SweetSearch4Me now at the end of the school year so we can solicit, receive and process feedback from school librarians, teachers, parents and students before we formally launch it in September.
As I examined the major kids’ search engines on the market, I saw they do not do an adequate job of ensuring that high-quality content written specifically for kids is easy to find. Many of them were little different than general search engines in “safe mode,” leaving students unable to comprehend the material in the top results. Others did a decent job of returning results from sites created for kids, but without regard for the quality of the sites.
SweetSearch4Me searches only Web sites that our staff of research experts, librarians and teachers have evaluated and approved as high-quality content appropriate for young users. Its base is the scores of sites recommended by our teacher consultants in findingDulcinea’s Web Guides to Education. To that, we added kids’ sites we came across in our own intensive review. For completeness, we’ve also included thousands of sites from libraries, government, major newspapers and magazines, but weighted them lower than sites created specifically for younger students. The exception to this is sites that contain predominantly primary sources, which students should learn to find and use at a young age.
I had a great chat with Mark and shared my own suggestions regarding a prettier interface and some semantic sorting features. Mark is sincerely interested in creating a search tool to meet the needs of young learners before the next school year begins. Please share your best ideas for him in your Comments.