Choosito is a Web-based, customizable search engine specifically made for students to safely search classroom-ready topics. The sources on the site are curated by educational professionals, and teachers can rate the resources. Users can narrow their search results by choosing reading levels (the reading levels are early, emerging, fluent, and advanced). Users can also search by subject level. On the flip side, users can also expand the “related search” to see suggestions for other search terms or to find similar resources.
Teachers could have students conduct safe searches while reading articles customized to their reading level and subjects. Teachers should tell each student which reading level and subjects they should choose before searching, and they should note that sometimes it’s best to choose two reading levels to sort through. Teachers should review what makes a good source while researching before students begin searching. Choosito suggests reviewing the five Ws (who, what, where, when and why) with students as a good place to start discussing what makes a good resource. Teachers can rate resources found in the Choosito library to show students what’s reliable and useful. There’s no dedicated teacher dashboard, but adding one would be useful as a tool for helping kids get specific directions on effective searching.
The site helps students effectively search for topics they want to learn more about in a safe environment, which is a huge plus for many educators, allowing them a little more control while students surf the Web. This is a helpful tool that makes research time all about research rather than about seeking kid-appropriate content. Students and teachers can (roughly) choose Lexile levels for students to sort through a library of trusted resources curated by educators. If they search the Choosito library but can’t find what they’re looking for, students can search the Web with a search engine powered by Bing.
Students will likely need supports from the teacher in order to make the most of their learning. Searching on its own can help students gain new knowledge, but it’s ultimately up to the teacher to help guide students toward more deeper thinking. Choosito is, at its core, simply a safe search engine for finding resources about topics that might interest students.
How to use Choosito!…
- After navigating to http://www.choosito.com, select “Choosito Search”.
- Scroll down the page to enter your search criteria and select form “Choosito! Web” or “Choosito! Library”, “Choosito! Images”, or “Public Collections”.
- I chose to search “abraham lincoln”.
- After the results are listed, I can choose to filter the search results by reading level (early, emerging, fluent, advanced) or by subject area.
- There are opportunities for you to rate the source, share the source, add the source to your library, remove the site from the search results, evaluate the site, view site evaluations, add to my collections, or cite the source.
This is a great tool to provide a safe search engine to your students that filters the results based on reading level and subject area but it is always important to educate students on why these sources are credible and reliable.