Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dulcinea Media - Search and Browse Tools for Students and Educators

When elementary students sit down at the school computer to do a general resource discovery search or research a particular topic, there are always concerns about the tools they're using. Schools can set up restrictions and filters but nothing beats setting up a local Virtual Reference Desk with recommended tools and resources, especially at the elementary level, and Dulcinea Media has designed a suite of products to help teachers and librarians build a safe, authoritative reference space.

Sweet Search is a search engine for students created and maintained by Dulcinea Media. Sweet Search has a staff of what they call Internet Researcher Experts (not sure of the qualifications for that position), including librarian and teacher consultants, who've basically created a database of reliable, safe, authoritative sites presumably based on a set of criteria; I can't seem to locate the "criteria" used to select and index sites. To date they claim to have indexed (will only search) approximately 35,000 web sites.

A really nice feature built into Sweet Search is its directory, Sweet Sites, which breaks its list of links into two main categories (Teachers and Students), and three sub-categories (High School, Middle School, and Elementary School). If anything, the setup of this directory alone will make his a useful product.

And we recommend exploring some of Dulcinea Media's other products for educators and students, and we especially recommend a visit to their virtual reference desk, Finding Dulcinea: Librarian of the Internet, and its guide to web searching...great for kids.

For teachers, Dulcinea Media has setup Finding Education, a tool to help educators locate online resources, share them, and create web assignments with students.

Now, all Dulcinea Media has to do is find a way of integrating its services into Google...and iGoogle app?!

Only downside to this suite of products, strong US focus on content but still meaningful to Canadian users.