Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

October 6, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Google Search Has Just Gotten Better For English Language Learners

Google has just unveiled a new feature in its search engine — the ability to see images of the site search results without having to go to the sites themselves.

It doesn’t seem to be available everywhere yet. For me, it just showed the images of the first few results. But they are rolling it out, and it will be a boon to English Language Learners. I have several other search engines who offer a similar feature on The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners list. It makes things a lot more accessible for ELL’s.

To try it out after you do a search, go to “More Search Tools” on the left of your screen. Click on it, and then go down to “Standard Results” and “page previews.”

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May 28, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Snap Bird Looks Good For Searching “Tweets”

Snap Bird is a new search engine for “tweets” on Twitter.

I may be missing something, but outside of subscribing to your own Twitter feed in your RSS Readers, this appears to be a great way to search for your tweets. In addition, you can easily search anyone else’s tweets just by typing in their user name and your own search term. (and you can do this without having to register)

Anyone have any better Twitter search applications to suggest?

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April 26, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Blinkx Video Search

Blinkx looks like an impressive video search engine. In my testing tonight, the search results were better than any other video search engine I’ve tried.

Even though it’s not an exact fit, for now I’m just adding it to The Best Ways To Find Fun (& Somewhat Useful) Videos On The Web.

Thanks to Cool Cat Teacher for the tip.

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April 3, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

LocPDF — A Visual Search Engine For PDF’s

LocPDF is a visual search engine for PDF’s on the Web. In other words, you see thumbnail sketches of the PDF’s that are in your search results.

I really don’t know how big of a deal it is, or how different the search results are than from typical search engines, but I know when I typed in “parent engagement” I found some resources I hadn’t seen before. It was neat being able to see the images first.

I don’t think it’s particularly useful for English Language Learners, but I think it’ll be useful for teacher research.

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April 2, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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BevyFind Is An Interesting Search Engine

BevyFind is a new search engine that lets you…well, it’s a little hard for me to explain exactly what it does. For English Language Learners, I like the fact that you can click on a text result and see the website without leaving the search page. I also like the fact that you can easily add multiple search results, including images, to automatically add to email that you can describe. That capability is good for higher-order thinking categorization skills.

It appears that it’s primary selling-point for most people, though, appears to be its ability to show lots of different search results on the same page. That’s a bad, and not accurate description, but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to better explain it. Check it out yourself.

It’s an interesting search engine, but not exceptional enough to be added to The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners.

Thanks to Angela Maiers for the tip.

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December 21, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

I Like Sprixi

Sprixi is a new search engine for images, mostly ones that have a Creative Commons license. It’s design is very attractive and easy to use. The key reason I like it, though, is because when you want to use one of their photos, it automatically shows whatever permissions are required. I know the New York Public Library photo collection does the same thing when you use their photos in a VoiceThread, but I’m not sure of other services that do the same.

In the comments section, please let me know what other web applications you know of that offer a similar service.

I’m adding Sprixi to The Best Online Sources For Images.

Thanks to Diana Dell for the tip.

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December 8, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Kngine Might Be An Excellent Search Engine

I have to try it out some more to be sure, but Kngine looks like it might be a truly exceptional search engine for English Language Learners and other students.

It calls itself a “revolutionary Semantic Search Engine and Question Answer Engine designed to provide meaningful search results.” Users can write a question in — for example, “How many years do you have to go to college to be a teacher?” (I chose that because my students have been doing research on careers). I was really quite impressed with the results that come up in response.

My students had tried using questions like that at some of the “question/answer” sites like Wikianswers. They easily found answers, but they varied wildly in terms of quality. The answers from Kngine seemed to take the best answers from those kinds of sites and include additional resources, too.

Even though I need to experiment with it more before I’m sure, I feel good enough about it to add to The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2009.

I’d be interested in hearing what your experience with it is, too.

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December 7, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Lazyfeed

Lazyfeed is a neat way to search social media, and have just updated their interface. You type in a query, and… instead of describing it, go to TechCrunch, who has written about it in a much clearer way than I could.

I’m adding Lazyfeed to Not “The Best…,” But “A List” Of Search Engines For Social Media.

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November 20, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Mugurdy Search Engine

The Mugurdy Search Engine is a simple visual search engine that is very accessible to English Language Learners.

Once you type in a query, search results are show with good size images of the actual websites. It reminds me of the old Page Bull visual search engine, which I rated highly two years ago but then went out of business.

It doesn’t have any of the “bells and whistles” of my other highly-rated search engines, but I’m still adding it to The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2009.

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November 13, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
4 Comments

The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners

'Search Engine Land Logo #1' photo (c) 2006, Danny Sullivan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It’s time for the annual update of my “The Best…” search engines list.

You might also be interested in these lists:

The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2008

The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2007

Not “The Best…,” But “A List” Of Search Engines For Social Media

Obviously, from the title of the list you can determine that the prime criteria I use is the search engine’s accessibility to English Language Learners. I believe this kind of accessibility also makes these applications very useful for students of all ages and language proficiencies.

Many of the sites in the top half of the list also appeared in last year’s ranking, and they all have made improvements over the past year. Several new web tools have joined for the first time.

Here are my choices for The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners:

The Carrot search engine returns search results divided into themes. For example, I typed in “Roman Gladiator” and, in addition to getting a list of typical results from a search engine, I saw a listed of thematic categories. These included “Ancient Rome,” “Movie Gladiator,” and “Collectible Swords.” These themes, I think, will be helpful to English Language Learners as they try to get through all the “clutter” of search engine results.

Quintura 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.

Boolify is a search engine designed for elementary and middle school students that is accessible to English Language Learners. I think there are others that are more accessible, but this is a good one to help teach basic search strategies.

Google has unveiled a new feature in its search engine — the ability to see images of the site search results without having to go to the sites themselves.

Askives is a new search engine that utilizes many of the question/answer sites that abound on the Web. Like another similar site, Kngine, though, it appears to be able to separate the good answers from the many useless and inaccurate ones that are out there.

2Lingual is a bilingual search engine. You type in your search term and then choose two languages. Search results will show-up side-by-side in both languages. It could come in very handy for English Language Learners in content classes, as well as for their teachers who might be looking for materials in a second language that they could offer to their students for extra support. I was quite pleased with the searches I did, though I wish they had separate “tabs” for videos. They provide bilingual searches for Google and for Bing, plus a voice search capability.

Oolone is a new search engine that shows you large images of search results instead of text.

“Leap.it” Could Be A Useful Search Engine For English Language Learners

Feedback, as always, is welcome.

You might also want to check-out the other 350 “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

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November 3, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Middlespot Hits A Homerun

Middlespot was the number two application in The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2008, but since the number-one ranked site went out of business, I can safely say it’s my choice as the best search engine for ESL/EFL learners. It was also included in The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students.

They just announced improvements in their site (you can see a video about them here), and I’ve got to say I’m quite impressed.

It’s so easy to save the pages, images, etc. that you’re looking for; you can easily write tags for each of them, and the best feature is that you can email or embed your work — all without registration. I’ve written in those “The Best…” lists, particularly the one on social bookmarking, on how useful an application like this can be in generating higher-order thinking among students. You might want to check out those ideas, and check out Middlespot.

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September 22, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Twurdy Is A Search Engine With An Intriguing Twist

Twurdy is a new search engine that returns results using a color-coded system that rates each result on how easy the text is to read.

I’ve shared my concerns about leveling books, but I tend to think that this kind of system might be useful to English Language Learners who are trying to find information quickly. It could save a lot of time and frustration.

I’m adding it to my website under Search Engines. I’m not quite convinced, though, that it will deserve a spot on my next “The Best” list on search engines.

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September 9, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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KarTOO’s “New” Search Engine

KarToo has a fairly well-known visual search engine that is interesting, but I’ve always found it confusing for me, much less for English Language Learners. However, a couple of years ago they unveiled a new one that was I liked it a lot, and even originally placed it on one of my “The Best…” lists (you might want to check out The Best search engines for ESL/EFL Learners 2007 and The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2008.  However, for some reason they took that one off-line.

I just learned from Alt Search Engines that they put it back online again — or at least, a limited version of it. It’s called KarTOO Cartographies.

When you submit a query, you get text results back, but also a neat-looking visual map of search categories.

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August 31, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
4 Comments

WebKruz Search Engine

WebKruz Search Engine is a pretty nifty new search engine. After submitting your query, it shows large images of each webpage that comes-up in the results, and will automatically scroll through them in a speed you choose.

In addition — and this is a feature I really like — it will show you results in related categories at the same time.

Both of these elements make it very useful to English Language Learners.

The only negative is that they also have an obnoxiously large advertisement on their main page.

I’m adding it to Search Engines on my website.

Thanks to Alt Search Engines for the tip.

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August 13, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Lavva Search Engine

The Lavva Search Engine will show thumbnail images next to each text description in your search results. You can then enlarge the image without leaving the search page.

That kind of visual support can be helpful to English Language Learners, and I’m adding it to my website under the Search Engines section.

It can apparently do a bunch of other stuff that I can’t quite figure out. And it does describe itself in a pretty weird way:

“Just as the flow of volcanic lava cannot be controlled or stopped, Lavva is not owned or controlled by anyone.”

But it is worth a look.

You might also want to check-out The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2008.

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July 28, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Study Search

Study Search is an Australian search engine specifically designed for students.

Here’s how it describes itself:

“studysearch.com.au is a customised Google search engine developed for Australian Primary and Secondary school students.

studysearch.com.au uses the power of Google’s search engine combined with a growing database of educational websites. When a search is done Google checks our database and gives those sites priority in the search results. The student is still doing a full Google search but the results are tuned to display sites that are more relevant.”

It has sections for both primary and secondary school students.  It doesn’t have visual screenshots, but I have to say I was impressed with the accessibility of the sites that came up in my searches.

I’m adding it to my website under Search Engines.

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