Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2007

| 5 Comments

(Editor’s Note: This list has changed since I posted it one day ago. When I originally prepared this list one of my favorite search engines, KartooVisuBeta, was down. From what I saw on their site, it appeared to me they had taken it “down” and were, instead, selling it as software. One day later I learned that no, it was up-and-running again. I’ve now placed it at number three on the rankings)

There are a lot new search engines being developed all the time. For most students, though, I think any of the usual ones — Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, etc. — will do just fine.

However, I think it’s a different story for English Language Learners, younger native-speakers, and others with special needs.

I’ve created this list for them. Here are my picks for the top six new search engines for English Language Learners (I should also point out that I’ve learned about most of search engines over the year from the AltSearchEngines blog):

Number six is the Sortfix Search Engine. I think it’s too complicated to explain here, but you can read my original post. It might also end up being too complicated for English Language Learners, but it’s intriguing enough to be worth a look.

I’ve ranked Sputtr number five. You can access many different search engines from Sputtr’s main page, and they’re adding more all the time. It’s a useful, and easy way, for students to experiment with different search results.

Number four is Quintura. It provides search results in a visual “cloud.” I’d characterize it as similar to the present version of Kartoo, the well-known search engine, but much less confusing.

Number three is Kartoo’s newly-revised and experiment search engine called KartOOVisu Beta. It provides your search results in a unique visual picture of a “tag cloud” that will be very helpful to English Language Learners. (This site seems to be off-line now)

I’ve ranked Ask Vox at second place. It’s a search engine with a talking host. In addition to functioning as a typical search engine, you can type in a question and the avatar will “speak” the answer and also show it in text form. For example, I typed in the question, “What is the capital of California?” It correctly answered “Sacramento.” It also allows you to send talking email messages.

Finally, my pick as the number one search engine for English Language Learners is Pagebull. When you enter a search term, the results that come back are not text. Visual images of the pages are actually shown on the screen. This can help students more quickly identify which sites might be accessible to them. (Unfortunately, it appears that Pagebull went out of business a few months after I wrote this list. However, a new search engine called Exalead seems to be very comparable.)

(I’ve also added the Searchme search engine to this list)

You can access this list, and my other year-end picks, at Websites of the Year.

Links to these search engines, and more, can be found on the English Themes For Beginners page on my website.

Print Friendly

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

5 Comments

  1. Hi thanks
    I tried http://www.sortfix.com and I liked its dictionary, if I don’t know the meaning of a word I can drag it to the dictionary box (blue area) and get its English definition which really helps me to learn English as I search

  2. Good tips. I never even thought about the different needs of ESL students for search engines. I’ll check this material out.

    Thanks.

    By the way, you might want to add a bit more of an explanation for why traditional search engines need to be augmented or replaced by other search engines.

    Shalom

    Eric

  3. I absolutely LOVE pagebull and am adding it to my tools section on my blog right now. I plan to use it with my 4th and 6th graders to show how to do an effective search. Thanks again!

  4. Hi,

    Try http://www.eslsearch.org – it’s a custom search engine for ESL topics.

    Jason

  5. bad request: pagebull.com (from Google browser)
    then tried using IE Tab but got the same…

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.