My Sacramento colleague, Alice Mercer, has just written a very thorough and thoughtful review of NetTrekker, the search engine so many school districts pay to have available in their schools. It appears in the Alt Search Engines blog.
I have to say that I completely agree with her conclusions (this excerpt is only a small part of what she writes):
You don’t always get what you pay for. Much of what you get for a fee from NetTrekker for elementary students, can be obtained elsewhere simply by adding the term “children” to your search. There are other bells and whistles on NetTrekker, but some of them (the text to speech) do not work well with low memory computers, such as the ones in my lab. I think the visual previews (from free services like MelZoo) are more useful.
Especially in light of the budget crisis, it seems to me that districts might want to consider spending their money elsewhere.
I’d be interested in hearing if people agree or think differently.
Readers might also be interested in The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2008.