Search for Everyone

The Internet is built for everyone.  There’s content that appeals to users no matter what the search.  Just fire up Google and search for any term or a person and you’ll find results that either meet your requirements or are far off base.  That’s the joy and frustration of using a search engine and the reason why teaching how to search, hopefully as early as possible, is so crucial.

Even when you find resources that are related to the desired search, they can pose an extra problem.  Sometimes you’ll find something that’s just right but at other times, you’ll find something too simplistic.  Yet other times, you may end up right in the middle of a technical manual.  If you are having difficulty finding something with the right reading level, imagine the frustration that a young searcher has.

Twurdy is a search engine that tries to help out in these cases.  It’s based on the content of Google so you won’t miss anything there.

In fact, it looks just like a simple Google search.  Enter your search term and let it do its thing.

Now, searching does take a little longer as the results are fetched from Google but then Twurdy does something helpful. It analyzes the results and gives you an idea as to the reading level of them.  By colour coding what it displays, you get an assist as to the reading level and what’s appropriate.

The darker the colour, the higher the reading level.  You can even turn on Twurdy’s determination as to what age level each of the  results is.  That sounds like a challenge to me so I sent Twurdy to my blog.  At what reading level are my entries?    I found the results interesting.  Some of the darker entries I did spend more time writing, had a little research and many links in them, and tended to be longer.

I don’t know what their algorithm is for determination but it’s an interesting concept.  I’ve been in junior classes where hands shoot up asking for help when students end up on pages that are too difficult to read.  Using a tool like this and searching for the right colour sounds like an interesting way to help these searchers find something that they can actually read when they get there.

According to the documentation, the name “Twurdy” comes from a meld of the words “too wordy”.  It’s actually good advice for some bloggers to follow!  The search engine is not a filter so don’t rely on it for that sort of thing.  But, if you’re looking to find a way to get age appropriate results, this might just fit the bill.



links for 2011-01-16