RIP Google Search in the Classroom

I am not sure how many educators knew of the outstanding Google Search feature called “Reading Levels”. It allowed for any researcher to filter search results by… yes, reading levels! Google’s algorithm calculated the complexity level of words in the website/article, and placed each site into one of three groups: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.

Google Search- Reading Levels
Image from: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/

It was awesome! It allowed me to assign a research topic for my students, and have my entire class’s reading ability range (from English Language Learners to advanced native speakers) to all find relevant information, in an appropriate reading level.

But that’s it. Those fun days are over. For some strange reason, one day out of the blue, the folks at Google decided to remove this feature. My 5th graders were outraged! “But why???”, “How can they do this?”, “What should we do now?”, “Can we call them and tell them to bring it back?” were only a few of the comments they had. Google Search- No Reading Levels

So here is my response:

Dear Google,

I am, and my students, and my school, and many millions of users love you so much.

We use Google Apps for Education at school, and we love how you introduced collaboration in Google Docs in such a smooth and simple way. We need to differentiate instruction, and Google Search has been my, and many others’, favorite way to do so.

Please bring it back!

Sincerely,

Ronen (A heart broken fan of Google Search)

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