Dulcinea Media provides free content and tools that help educators teach students how to use the Web effectively.
We're thrilled with the rave reviews we've received from educators, many of which can be found here, and with the explosive growth in awareness and usage of our products by schools all over the world.
One remaining struggle is to make educators aware of the full range of our content and tools. We've published more than 700 Web Guides, nearly 10,000 articles, and now offer two search engines, a biographies index, a curated assortment of daily content, and much of our content in Spanish. Even we have trouble keeping track of it all.
But nothing organizes better than a list. So here are the 9 Ways We Help Educators Teach Students How to Use the Web:
We recently explained why SweetSearch is the best search engine for students - and teachers love it, too! SweetSearch searches only Web sites that have been evaluated by our research experts and educator consultants. We're seeing that this makes it great for educators as well, whether looking for lesson plans or sources to share with students. You know those lists you've been bookmarking for years? SweetSearch is a searchable repository of all of them.
For younger learners, we recently introduced a beta version of SweetSearch4Me, which is the only search engine that prominently ranks high quality Websites created for elementary school students, and mixes them with accessible primary source sites.
We offer a widget for both SweetSearch and SweetSearch4Me, so you can embed them on your school Web sites. But the best way to get your students to use these superior tools is to add them on to every browser in your school; to do this for Firefox and Internet Explorer, just click the green Add-On box on the top right of SweetSearch.
2. SweetSearch Biographies helps your students discover inspiring and notable people they may not have heard of before.
As I discussed in a recent blog post, a complaint we hear often from educators is that students write the same handful of biographies every year, when there are thousands of inspiring people that students should write about. If they use our database of more than 1,000 biographies, filterable by profession, gender and race/national origin, you'll suddenly find yourself reading well-sourced biographies of remarkable people that you may not have heard of before.
A state testing agency recently asked to license our biographies for use in that state's English & Language Arts assessment for elementary school students. The agency found our biographies to be well-written, concise and yet comprehensive. We're proud to have produced a product that not only teaches real-world Web research skills, and at the same time helps "teach to the test."
3. SweetSearch2Day offers a curated assortment of the best daily educational content on the Web.
Thousands of Websites offer content about today's birthdays or events in history, the photo/video/poem/quote of the day, news feeds, news quizzes, etc. It's impossible for busy educators to keep track of it all and evaluate its credibility and usefulness. Happily, we've done that for you. SweetSearch2Day was recently released in beta, and you'll see lots of new content added to it every month.
A satellite site of SweetSearch2Day is Interview of the Day, which features compelling historic interviews that lets students hear inspiring people in their own words. I happen to think it's the single best idea we've had thus far.
4. Our Ten Steps to Better Web Research is the best Web search tutorial on the Web.
Students need a lot of help in finding, evaluating and using information they need on the Internet. Ten Steps breaks the process of Web research into these three phases and ten individual steps. We believe it is the best Web research tutorial you'll find anywhere. We're also about to release a greatly expanded version, for a modest fee, that includes videos, quizzes, activities, etc. that reinforce the lessons learned. We've also published this presentation on teaching the Ten Steps; it has been viewed 30,000 times in ten months.
5. Beyond the Headlines serves as a model for your students to follow for writing papers.
Students need role models, right? We've written thousands of headline articles about the topics you study in class. We find additional background or reference information on the topic, related topics and opposing points of view. We integrate all this information into a cohesive, comprehensive look at the topic, and link to our sources, which we align in a single box. Exactly what you'd like to see your students do, right? We show them how.
A white paper released in November 2010 by Temple University Media Education Professor Renee Hobbs, sponsored by The Knight Commission, included Beyond the Headlines in its "Portraits of Success: Powerful Voices for Kids" and wrote, "Finding Dulcinea... addresses the 'context deficit' that occurs with online searching."
6. Our Web Guides provide a guided tour of the best Web sites about your subject.
Before assigning a research project, search for credible resources your students can use. Our 700+ Web guides are a collection of such resources. For example, our Web Guide to U.S. History features useful sites that help teachers and students find the best primary and secondary sources from Native Americans to the early settlers to the 1980s.
For librarians, we offer Sweet Sites, a distilled version of our education Web Guides, divided into teacher and student pages for high school, middle school and elementary school. Feel free to link to these pages, or even copy the links you like onto your own library Web site.
7. findingEducation helps you find, and share, great resources with your students and colleagues.
findingEducation is a free tool that helps you find the best online resources and share them with students and colleagues. It is a meeting place for educators to share insight and outstanding links, assignments and lesson plans. Take our video tour to learn more.
If used broadly enough, findingEducation has the potential to replace textbooks in many disciplines. Once we attract thousands of teachers, all contributing assignments and links to online resources about a particular subject, it will become a giant, searchable repository of lesson plans about that subject. When you find a few brilliant assignment pages, you can synthesize them to make your own. A few iterations in, and members of this site will be producing lesson plans and assignments far better than anything produced in textbook-based classrooms today.
Due to the fact that native Spanish-speaking students may have trouble finding resources on the Web, we created EncontrandoDulcinea, a "Bridge for Spanish Speakers." Now Spanish-speaking students and their parents can read a Spanish language narrative guide to the best sites in English and Spanish. Students that are learning English or Spanish can also read a number of our news and features on both sites, including our On This Day feature, which is available in Spanish as Hoy en la Historia.
9. We offer presentations on how to build your own personal learning network, and other topics.
The only way we could create all these great products is with the awesome input and feedback we get from the brilliant, dedicated and passionate educators in our learning networks.
We know you may not visit us every day, so we come to you!
We know your hectic schedule doesn't have always a slot that says "visit findingDulcinea." So we come to you! Our free e-mail newsletter arrives at your inbox with an overview of On This Day and our Happy Birthday biography feature, as well as links to our best education articles.
Many teachers ask their students to sign up for our newsletter as well. Of course, many students don't use e-mail any more, because they virtually live on Facebook. Ask your students to become a fan of findingDulcinea on Facebook, and we'll occasionally interrupt their "urgent" status updates with some inspiring and educational content.
Please also follow us on Twitter @findingDulcinea
Help us help you. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message us on Twitter @findingDulcinea and let us know what we can do better. We’d love to hear from you.
Mark E. Moran
Founder & CEO