6 Ways to Use ThingLink Hashtags

ThingLink hashtags provide teachers and students with a way to easily organize ThingLink content within a safe learning environment. ThingLink hashtags are handy searchable smart phrases that can be used to accomplish some important classroom tasks.

Read more on the ThingLink Blog…


Search by Reading Level Without Twurdy

For the past few years I have been introducing students, teachers and parents to a toolkit of resources assembled to help students use search engines that match their learning styles. One of the most popular tools in my toolkit has been Twurdy, a simple search engine that displays results by readability. Unfortunately, it appears as though Twurdy has gone off the grid at this point in time. I cannot find this beloved tool.

In response to numerous email messages and tweets, I decided to look for a search engine similar to Twurdy; however, I am unable to find one. The the two tools I can suggest for helping students find leveled text are Google Advanced Search and Wikipedia Simple English.

Google Advanced Search – Search by Reading Level

Students can use the Google Advanced Search feature to find results that are categorized into three reading levels. Once a search is completed, uses can toggle the results to display basic, intermediate and advanced reading levels.

The Google Advanced Search option has been around for quite some time, but because it is a Google tool, the point of access is always changing. Here is a snapshot to illustrate where to find Search by Reading Level when using Google at the present time. 

Wikipedia Simple English

One of the languages supported by Wikipedia is “Simple English”. Choose it to find information written using simpler words and simple sentences, which lowers the readability level. Learn how to find Simple English by watching this quick video tutorial.

Looking for More Search Engine Options? 

Please explore my MentorMobEdu playlist of resources.

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Have a Suggestion to Add to This Playlist?

I’m always looking for new resources to add to this playlist. Please make suggestions through the comments section here or send me a Tweet. 

Google Search Education

Searching for information and making sense of it is a process that involves critical thinking. Google has many tools to help students sift through the overwhelming abundance of web content, but those tools are often not utilized by students and teachers. 

Google recently announced the launch of Search Education. With it comes the promise of bringing educators the tools they need to help students become savvy searchers and independent learners. The site for educators includes lesson plans that are tied to A Google a Daya daily puzzle designed to develop complex search skills. The lessons are aligned with NETS and Common Core Standards, connected to content area subjects and differentiated on 3 levels. 
In addition to lesson plans, Google offers live trainings and archived videos of past trainings to provided educators with the background knowledge

Providing students with strategies that makes it easier to find relevant information more efficiently is a skill we need to teach our students. Check out this video to learn more about Google Search Education.

Improve Search Skills – A Google a Day

Searching for information is a process that involves critical thinking.  A Google a Day  is a trivia game that provides students and grownups with a playful way to improve search skills. Every day Google posts a question that is complex enough that a regular Google search won’t yield the solution. Players have to put on their thinking caps to find the answers. Here are some things you should know about a Google a day:

  • Players are encouraged to “cheat” and search for the answer, that’s the point of this game.
  • Tips and tricks for searching are available through a link right on the game page.
  • The answer includes the path used to find it.
  • Players must solve each day’s puzzle by searching the Internet as it existed before A Google a Day was launched. This is known as “Deja Google”.
  • The trivia game can easily be popped into your own blog or website with the embed code provided. Try it for yourself at the bottom of this post.

Beyond the fun of the trivia game, Google has also put together lessons and materials to help teachers teach students how to search, known as the Google Search Education Evangelism Site which is worth taking a look at. The materials on the site are licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike license which means teachers can use and modify them for their teaching as long as they give attribution to Google.com and keep the sharing going by licensing modifications of the work under the same category.


Qwiki – A Multi-Media Search Engine

Qwiki is a multi-media search engine designed to improve the way people experience information by appealing to users on a human level. A Qwiki search delivers content in the form of a narrated, interactive slideshow that tells a story. Although it’s relatively new, there are millions of topics available for searching now.

Here is an example of Oak Park, IL, qwikied
View Oak Park, Illinois and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

Try Qwiki for yourself