Annual Index Shows Prevalence of Web Search Is in K-12 Schools
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A ranking of school districts using a particular safe-search index service shows that the largest school district performed about 7 million searches during the 2007-2008 school year, and the smallest performed around 460,000 searches. The indexing was done by Thinkronize, which sells netTrekker d.i., a "safe search" tool for K-12 environments.
Forsyth County Schools in Georgia, which has about 32,000 students and 3,500 full-time employees, performed more searches through netTrekker than any other school using the service. The district, which also had the top spot in the index during the previous school year, will receive $5,000 in training.
"We attribute our increased [Web] usage--as well as the new levels of teacher creativity--in part to the exceptional Integration Workshop which Thinkronize provided as a part of our prize package [last year]," said Jill Hobson, the district's director of instructional technology. "netTrekker d.i. is an integral part of our strategy for providing digital content aligned to standards as well as a student-friendly, safe search engine that is available to our teachers and students 24/7/365."
For the mid-sized districts, Blue Springs School District in Missouri led with 2,615,184 searches, and Dupage County School District 45 in Illinois came in first with 629,401 searches for the small-sized districts. These districts will receive $2,500 in training.
"Most search engines can be overwhelming with students spending too much time surfing. We are so happy with netTrekker d.i. and how it enables our students to use their limited time to research topics more efficiently," said Kelly Knudsen, library media specialist at Delta Woods Middle School in the Blue Springs district. "Our teachers love the ability to make folders and share them with students to access specific Web sites and information. The numerous tools available in netTrekker d.i. help students and teachers alike with their daily work. And the best part is students can access it all from home and school."
netTrekker, which is in use by 21,000 schools in the United States, according to the company, consists of a database of online sites that have been reviewed by company personnel for academic integrity, age appropriateness, and safety.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.