Review by James Denby, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2018

SweetSearch2Day

Daily history site is full of promise but lacks consistency

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Social Studies

Skills
N/A
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
3–8
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Pros: 2Day-themed articles offer great jump-off points for discussion.

Cons: Content is updated irregularly, and there are quality issues with links.

Bottom Line: This is a well-intentioned project that definitely fills a need for teachers, but it's just not reliable enough to recommend.

Because SweetSearch2Day isn't updated regularly, its learning value varies. Teachers and students might find resources to help them investigate social studies topics or build content-area knowledge, or they may find nothing new. Content quality may also be an issue. For instance, a quick read-through of the 2Day in History entry for Wangari Muta Maathai -- the Nobel Prize winner behind the Green Belt initiative -- mentions the 2002 Kenyan election as "the country's first democratic elections." This lacks some nuance, since Kenya had democratic elections prior to 2002, but they weren't thought of as completely uncorrupt. Of course, this is a small thing -- and just one article -- but it does mean teachers should help students do a bit more digging on the information they find on SweetSearch2Day. Even so, the site's example content might be a jumping-off point for a whole-class project where students write their own articles about historical figures or events that coincide with a specific day or week.

Also, if students do find something on the site that they wish to research further, the search engine built into the site is hosted by SweetSearch2Day's companion site, SweetSearch. This is a customized search engine designed for students, and it offers more robust resources. 

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SweetSearch2Day is a social studies reference site offering learning resources, many of which are articles with a "this day in history" theme. The six sections on the site include:

  • Netcetera: Curated lists of resources for learning about things like country or state names
  • 2Day in History: Short articles about important events related to a day or week
  • 2Day's Biographies: Articles and collections of student-facing resources about notable people
  • Web Guides: Resources to help guide students' research on social studies topics
  • Research Skills: Tips and ideas for improving student research abilities
  • Changing the World: Articles about student efforts to change the world

In style and depth, the content is intended for students in elementary through middle school; however, in rigor and variety, it varies greatly from section to section.

SweetSearch2Day could be an amazing resource for teachers, but without daily (or even weekly) updates -- which a lot of the sections are meant to offer -- it'll be challenging to implement. Moreover, the idea of social studies research guides -- curated lists of resources on specific topics -- would be a teacher's dream. Unfortunately, the Web Guides section, like much of the the site, feels like it's in draft form. That is, there's a good idea there with an initial small batch of content but not a large enough library to serve every teacher's needs. Some sections even have dead links or lead to less rigorous sources. New content does come sporadically, so there's a chance you'll find something relevant, but you won't be able to depend on SweetSearch2Day as, for instance, a weekly foundation for class discussion. 

Overall Rating

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

The content is solid and interesting, but it isn't updated frequently enough to sustain students' attention.

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

This is a great, useful idea for a learning tool, but it falls short due to a lack of reliable, updated resources. The resources that are there are digestible but require critical reading.

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

The site features a clean, focused design. Keyboard-based browsing is possible, but the cursor is hidden when jumping between links.


Common Sense Reviewer
James Denby Educator/Curriculum Developer

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