Review by Stephanie Trautman, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2015

Choosito

Filter expert-curated sites by grade and subject with safe search tool

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • English Language Learning
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
3-9
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

Take a look inside

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Pros: Search safe, teacher-curated sites organized by grade level and subject area.

Cons: While there are more than 150,000 sites to browse, it's still not the same as researching using databases and other tools.

Bottom Line: An easy-to-use tool for safe online searching.

Teachers could have students conduct safe searches while reading articles customized to their reading level and subjects. Teachers should tell each student which reading level and subjects they should choose before searching, and they should note that sometimes it's best to choose two reading levels to sort through. Teachers should review what makes a good source while researching before students begin searching. Choosito suggests reviewing the five Ws (who, what, where, when and why) with students as a good place to start discussing what makes a good resource. Teachers can rate resources found in the Choosito library to show students what's reliable and useful. There's no dedicated teacher dashboard, but adding one would be useful as a tool for helping kids get specific directions on effective searching.

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Choosito is a Web-based, customizable search engine specifically made for students to safely search classroom-ready topics. The sources on the site are curated by educational professionals, and teachers can rate the resources (although few resources have been rated thus far). Users can narrow their search results by choosing reading levels (the reading levels are early, emerging, fluent, and advanced). Users can also search by subject level. On the flip side, users can also expand the "related search" to see suggestions for other search terms or to find similar resources.

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The site helps students effectively search for topics they want to learn more about in a safe environment, which is a huge plus for many educators, allowing them a little more control while students surf the Web. This is a helpful tool that makes research time all about research rather than about seeking kid-appropriate content. Students and teachers can (roughly) choose Lexile levels for students to sort through a library of trusted resources curated by educators. If they search the Choosito library but can't find what they're looking for, students can search the Web with a search engine powered by Bing.

Students will likely need supports from the teacher in order to make the most of their learning. Searching on its own can help students gain new knowledge, but it's ultimately up to the teacher to help guide students toward more deeper thinking. Choosito is, at its core, simply a safe search engine for finding resources about topics that might interest students.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Choosito is an engaging product: It's both visually appealing and well organized. Students will engage with texts in meaningful ways because they can choose their reading level and subject. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Students can sort through sources, but it would be helpful to educate students on why these sources are authoritative and reliable. Sources can be transferred to papers and projects, and students can make meaning based on their reading level.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

At this time, there are few support or help options for users, but the site is relatively simplistic and easy to use. Learning could be supported outside of the site, but would need quite a bit of support and guidance from the teacher.


Common Sense Reviewer
Stephanie Trautman Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Dominic P. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Choosito is an excellent resource. Choosito personalizes web content for students by reading level and subject while providing tools such as an evaluation and citation tool that will help provide enhanced inquiry based learning opportunities.

Overall, Choosito is a very valuable tool that teachers can use in their classrooms. It is very simple to hand a computer to a student and ask them to research a topic. With that being said, the student can easily get lost and will not have the appropriate skills needed to appropriately conduct research. Choosito filters and tools push for a more personalized and inquiry driven research approach that would benefit any classroom.

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