Let’s explore some search engines

This activity has been designed to help you search and select relevant information, as well as digital artefacts (images, video and audio clips, infographics, etc.) using multiple search engines. You may find it useful to expand and widen your range of tools so that you can adopt new automatic reflexes when searching online.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this task you will be able to:

  • Use a broader range of search engines
  • Know how each can be effective for specific types of search
  • Search the web with a wider spectrum of tools and appreciation


  1. Using your favourite search engine, select a term in your target language. For this activity, we will use the English term ‘migration’, but you can choose any term that is relevant to your current language learning project.
    • How many results do you find?
    • What sources are near the top? Make a screenshot (for example with Windows Snipping Tool) and save it.
    • Which ones are you likely to explore? Why? Write down your thoughts.
  2. Now imagine you want to find synonyms for the word ‘migration’, or images of migration, or blogs about migration in the developing world, or graphs of about levels of migration from different countries.
    • How would you refine your search?
    • What tools would you use?
  3. You are now going to use different search engines. For each, make a screenshot of the search results and write down one element that you liked about the engine and one element that you disliked.
    • Visual search engines for words: Find three words (one adjective, one noun and one verb) that have a similar meaning to ‘migrate’, using Visuwords and Visual Thesaurus.
    • Image search engines: Find three images of Calais: one of the town, one of a notable landmark and one of its beaches, using Tag Galaxy and Flickr.
    • Blog search engines: Find three blog posts about migration issues in Canada, using Icerocket and SearchBlogspot.
    • Metasearch engines: Find information about the most recent issues in term of migration in the world, including an image, information from a newspaper article and a tweet from Twitter or a status update from Facebook, using Spezify and Dogpile.
    • Video search engines: Find two videos about migrants in the U.K., using: YouTube Education and BBC news.
  4. Compare the screenshot of your original search with the ones from the other search engines. What differences can you find? How can you explain them? What conclusions can you make?

Related activities

Context of useTitleRelated themesLanguages
Activities for the classroom
Let's search!FR
Independent learning
Search literacy... what is it?Hypertext literacy; VocabularyFR
Let's explore some search enginesSearch literacy (student)
Source/attribution: Adapted from Dudeney et al. (2013, p 189, Activity 25).          Author: Alexandre Jacquot

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Additional Content

This activity has been designed with English in mind. Some of the search engines used will not provide results in one or more target language. Check the language specific information to suggest variants to students.

Pour faire cette activité en français

Attention ! Les moteurs de recherche utilisés dans la partie Visual search engines for words (seulement) ne prennent pas en compte les recherches en français. Vous pouvez utiliser à la place les dictionnaires visuels suivants :

Quelques ressources supplémentaires :

Pensez aussi à utiliser les sites d’information tels que FranceInfo qui vous permettent de trouver des vidéos, émissions de radio, ainsi que des articles à partir de mots clés.

Pour trouver des mots de la même famille

Pour trouver des noms, adjectifs et verbes de la même famille, utilisez un dictionnaire en ligne comme et examinez la liste des termes à gauche sur votre écran. Pour migration, vous trouverez par exemple les adjectifs migrateur, migratoire, migrant (qui peut aussi être un nom), le verbe migrer, etc.


Ein ähnliches Format auf Deutsch bietet, wobei Wortfamilien nicht beinhaltet sind.

Pons bietet ein Bildwörterbuch als App an.

Weitere Suchmaschinen

Neben Google und Yahoo sind folgende Suchmaschinen besonders für Kinder interessant:


Cliceáil ar na naisc thíos le treoracha a aimsiú faoi Chuardaigh Chasta agus faoi Cheanáin / Leabharmharcanna:

L’attività presentata sopra può essere svolta anche in italiano usando le stesse risorse.

Lo studente di italiano può effettuare la ricerca sulla parola ‘migration’ nel contesto italiano. La ricerca visuale può essere effettuata cercando immagini di sbarchi di migranti a Lampedusa o sulle coste siciliane. Le ricerche sui blog e sui motori di meta-ricerca possono interessare il fenomeno dell’immigrazione verso l’Italia e le varie opinioni rappresentate.

Risorse visuali in italiano:

I seguenti dizionari illustrati possono essere utili se si vuole far fare agli studenti una ricerca illustrata utilizzando dei termini più semplici:

Qui sotto trovi uno speciman del Piccolo dizionario visuale di italiano edito da Loescher: