ETL 501. Topic 4. Effective Search Strategies.


Go to the Google vs Bing vs more search engines comparison tool. Try some searches using keywords. This is a good activity to show students. If you use Yahoo, remember that this is a search engine and a search directory, ie. in a search directory the results have often been evaluated by someone. Hint: Make sure you fill in the captcha box (prevents spamming).


Take a look at the sites above. Go to the Noodle Tools site and select TWO search engines that you are not familiar with and do a search using the following terms:

  • volcanoes schools teaching
  • Assess the quality of your results e.g. how relevant were the first 10 results if you were finding information for a geography teacher in a secondary school?


1)     iSEEK Education Search Engine from Noodle Tools:

Five out of 10 sites were good enough to be used at secondary level for a geography task on volcanoes. They had 3-4 star ratings and satisfied a good percentage of the website evaluation criteria as most were educational sites and reliable too.

2)     INFOMINE Scholarly Internet Resource Collection (Academic) –

 Too technical and detailed for year 10 students to use as a search engine.

3). Sweet Search – Education for Students

9 out of 10 sites were good for the subject. Two were specifically for secondary students, age appropriate, appropriate learning level, and satisfied all criteria.


Visit Judy O’Connell’s Knowledge 2.0 Livebinder. Browse through the information, and choose a new search engine to explore in detail. Test this out with a group of students and/or consider ways that this may alter a search strategy for a unit of work.

Ans:  This is a good site which I will use.

  • Boolify – excellent for secondary school students, authority, reliable, educational.
  •  Kids Click – mix of primary/secondary level sites, educational & leisure

Activity: One of the best known Web searching guides is The Seven Habits site. How useful do you think this might be for teaching students in secondary or primary school about Web searching?

Ans: Yes, I would use this guide as I think it has appropriate language for secondary school students to follow and use as a guide for efficient use and becoming proficient in search skills and website evaluation.

Effective Habit 1: Use Targeted Phrases. The more specific your query is, the more success you’re likely to have.

Effective Habit 2: Expand Your Search Horizons. Get out of the habit of only using one search engine for everything.

Effective Habit 3: Learn a Few Web Search Tricks. There are a few Web search tricks that can make your life a lot easier.

Effective Habit 4: Use Your Time Wisely. The longer you spend time searching for something, the more frustrated you can get.

Effective Habit 5: Learn How Stuff Works on the Web. If you want something to work right, you’ve got to read the users manual.

Effective Habit 6: Stay on Top of New Web Developments. There’s a whole ‘lotta shakin’ going on in the World Wide Web.

Effective Habit 7: Cultivate a Love of Discovery. Once you find what you’re looking for, you can just stay there, right

Activity: Depending on whether you are (or intend to be) a primary or secondary TL, select one of the exercises below. You can of course do both!

Secondary exercise

You are a TL in a secondary school and you are working with a teacher who is planning to teach a one term course with a Year 10 class on the causes and effects of drought in Australia. Do a search on THREE different search engines for the causes and effects of drought in ONE Australian state (remember it is for Year 10 students!). If you prefer, do the searches on a current topic that you are working on in your school or a topic in which you are interested.

Complete the Search Activity Table below.

Search engine Keywords Hits How useful? Comments
Sweet Search-





20 10 were excellent & 10 were useful Good site which I will use first
Boolify -Education Drought in state of Victoria 20 9/10 were relevant and useful Specific detail in most but one related to football?! Offer to students as a second source.
iSEEK- Education Drought


20 Only one out of 20. Not useful at all. Only one site referred to drought in Victoria Aust.  And it was only okay. Others mentioned the USA!

Activity: In your group forum in the Searching thread, post some commentary about your learning while completing this topic.

How could you introduce new search engines to students who rely on Google, remembering that Google doesn’t search everything on the Web and another search engine might be more appropriate for your students (age, reading and cognitive level)?

 Ans: I would encourage them to use Noodle Tools as I found this search engine had a range of websites with star ratings and educational content sites for all age and learning levels.

Share any resources you have found.

iSEEK, Boolify & Sweet Search are excellent search engines for educational websites with good search tools and satisfy all website evaluation criteria. They were excellent for secondary school students; age appropriate, learning level, reading level and have star ratings.


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