When I was in South Carolina, many of our schools had their homepage set for Yahooligans. I didn't mind this since I didn't have to worry about news articles that might worry the students when they were suppose to be working. (I had a large population of military students and a lot of their parents were overseas or knew that their parents could be deployed if anything serious broke out.)
So this morning I went to Yahooligans to see what was new. I was actually led there because a friend and I were chatting last night about search engines for children. Now I'm blessed, I have access to netTrekker. I'm hoping that the new superintendent will look at netTrekker for the schools here in Hernando County. But in the meantime, I decided to check out Yahooligans since that's the search engine that was brought up.
Boy has it changed. I'm a fan of Yahoo, so I was surprised to see the very busy site that really is distracting. I didn't even see the search box in the upper right hand corner. I did find the Homework Help site, but even that has distractions. They have this beautiful "In the News" section and the first thing that's there is a picture of Miley Cyrus and a link to entertainment news. Further down is a link for arts and entertainment and they also have a joke of the day area. Even more distractions for the kid who is suppose to be studying. I did like the box on the side that looks like tags of popular searches on the web now. But the rest was distracting.
It's not a bad site or search engine for students when they have down time and are looking for fun things, but I would not suggest it to a student who is easily distracted - which means most students. I also would not want my homepage for my school set to that anymore.
TekMom has a search engine tool page for students, but it's not a comprehensive search. She basically gives you the search boxes to popular search engines and even admits in her "About page" that "While students will be statistically more likely to find only relevant sites, they unfortunately may not find some of the best information that is available on the Internet, so adults may be needed to find additional information." She also suggests having a dictionary available. All in all, it's not a bad tool and she's put in a lot of work.
netTrekker does have a home license, in case your school does not have a license. It also has a built in dictionary, a read aloud feature, and some other great tools.