Friday, March 20, 2009

Make Your Own Google Custom Search

We all know how a typical Google search works with students. They tell Google what they want it to search for. They click on the first result. There is too much text or it's too difficult to read. They click on the next result. It has nothing to do with what they're looking for. They raise their hand and tell you that they can't find any information.
Sound familiar? There are few ways to solve this problem:
  1. Teach your students how to use Google (or let me show them how). A Google Advanced Search is very powerful.
  2. OR, make a (free!) Google Custom Search with your own list of websites and show your students how to use it.
What is it?

A Google Custom Search is just what it sounds like. It's a Google search that you can customize. Basically, instead of Google searching the entire Internet, you tell it to search specific websites that you have previewed and approved. A Custom Search looks like and works like a typical Google search, but it's faster, safer, and more useful to your students. Click here to see a Google Custom Search I made recently for a 6th grade social studies class. They were studying Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses and a lot of the Internet material they were finding was too difficult or inappropriate. So, I found 8 kid-friendly websites and made a Custom Search for them to use. It made research much faster! Try it out! Search for your favorite God or Goddess!

How do I make a Google Custom Search?

  1. You (the teacher) find useful, safe, and appropriate websites that are at your students' readability level.

  2. Create a Google Account (unless you already have one).
  3. Go to the Google Custom Search Homepage and follow the steps. You'll have to provide some information about your search, but it's not a lengthy process.

  4. Paste the URLs (addresses) of the sites you want the Custom Search to search.

  5. Eventually, you'll be given a URL for your search. Create a link for it on your classroom webpage and you're all set! Custom searches are also embeddable!

Please let me know if you'd like some help setting up a Google Custom Search!

Good Luck!