Online Tools That Will Make Your Students Better Researchers
Research may be one of the hardest things to teach. However, developing students' ability to access, evaluate, analyze, and distribute information is critical in the information age. Also, research skills are a must-have for a wide range of professions ranging from business analysts to nurses.
Elementary school students require research skills to become more sophisticated readers, writers, and thinkers. Starting from the third grade, their reading skills are sufficient to engage in research, so it may be the best time to begin teaching research. Besides, at this time, the children are full of questions, so having these skills will help to answer them.
As an elementary school educator, you may be using some online tools to assist you with teaching, so if you're looking for some tools to help with improving your students' research skills, please take a look at the list below. It contains six online tools designed specifically for developing and improving research skills in elementary-age children.
Let's review them and define how they can help you and your curious class.
- Fact Monster
This website is basically a large collection of facts, videos, and lessons on a variety of topics including World, the U.S., Science, Math, Holidays, Language Arts, and many more others. It also has a lot of games and trivia to keep kids entertained and a number of tools such as distance calculator, place finder, and conversion calculator in case your class needs it. Feel free to use this tool if you want to introduce your class to basic fact research. Thanks to Fact Monster, they'll learn how to search through categories, time periods, and other criteria, and answer some of the most interesting questions they have.
- Kid's Search
Google may not be the best option for a search engine for kids, but Kid's Search certainly is! It's a tool designed specifically for children and works exactly like Google. Sophisticated controls ensure that all results are children-friendly, and you can also search for content created specifically for young users. Other great tools provided by Kid's Search include a huge collection of images and videos, kid's online safety guide, Wikipedia search, dictionary search, and even a blog with articles for parents, teachers, and educators.
- International Children's Digital Library (ICDL)
If you want to teach your class how to research literature online, ICDL could be a great tool for you. It provides access to the best of children's literature including narratives and tales from all around the world through a simple search tool containing several filters. According to the creators of ICDL, the main purpose of the site is to promote tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, so you'll find books and collections from almost anywhere in the world while teaching online research.
- Cybersleuth Kids
This is a perfect tool to teach research skills because it offers not one but two ways to search the site: through the search feature and by browsing numerous categories. For example, your class will have an opportunity to search for materials in the following areas:
And, of course, the site has a collection of games if the kids need a break from learning.
- Art & music
- Language arts
- Web design
Unfortunately, kids can find anything and everything on the Internet. Here's one more kid-friendly search engine that you can use to teach them research and keep them safe from inappropriate material. This one, however, is a unique tool because it doesn't require typing keywords to find material. Rather, it provides the user with a number of subject areas for research so they can select the one they're interested in. Clicking on an area redirects the user to links to kid-friendly sites that you can retrieve information from.
- DK Find Out!
Like the previous tool, this one offers a number of subject areas including human body, space, sports, science, language arts, math, and many others, so the kids can research the area they're most interested in. Numerous subcategories are available for research for each of the subjects, and they deliver interesting information to readers. Children also can view videos, play quizzes, and read fun facts and articles to make lessons even more fun. For you as a teacher lots of useful materials such as lesson plan ideas are available.
Over to You
Your students need to learn how to be independent writers, readers, and thinkers, so they require sufficient research skills to answer their questions. By providing them with proper research tools and helping to remain safe from inappropriate content, you can prepare them for the exploration of more complex subjects in the future help them become savvy researchers. Besides, you'll give them a skill that'll serve them over a lifetime as they attempt to absorb ever-increasing amounts of information.
Audrey Pilcher is an online tutor and writer who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger and currently works at https://www.assignmenthelper.com.au. She likes to write on different topics like education, tutoring and much more.