EFL classrooms for the children would be the point in focus because of its overriding linguistic and ethical issues. The paper discusses the educational search engines in general and its advantages and disadvantages. Stress is, then, given to EFL learner in an age group of 7-9 years and how search engines could contribute to their learning process. Finally ethical and moral dimensions of doing so are examined.
Search engines are huge databases of web page files. It responds and takes the users to those web files they are looking for in the Internet. Search engines are particularly useful when the user does not know the website(s) where the information they require might be located. It is also widely used to find those websites of which users are not aware of the location. A comprehensive definition of a search engine is given by Teeler & Gray (2000):
"a search tool that collects information from the Web by running an automatic program which visits huge numbers of web pages. It stores this information in a database and searches it by keyword when it receives your search request. It then provides you with a list of sites that include your keyword(s)."
Search engines help people find information stored on other sites. ...
For the search engine managers, once developed, this is an automated process with only maintenance and updating required. A user connected to the Internet from anywhere in the world can avail these facilities with an ordinary Personal Computer of minimum hardware capacity and an Internet browser.
Two types of search engines exist. There are individual search engines that compile their own databases on the web and there are 'metasearchers' that do not compile databases but search the databases of a cluster of search engines simultaneously. Based on this, a wide array of search engines exists catering to assorted needs often in a specialized manner. For broad educational requirements Academic Info (www.academicinfo.net/index.html), Britannica.com (www.awesomelibrary.org), Gateway to Educational Materials (www.thegateway.org) and Library Spot (www.libraryspot.com) are available with overriding academic focus and with their primary intended audience at the schools and university levels. Recognizing the learning requirements of the children a number of websites and web databases are available especially dedicated to them. Some of the prominent ones are Yahooligans! (www.yahooligans.com), Ask Jeeves for Kids (www.ajkids), Berit's Best Sites (www.beritsbest.com) and Surfing the Net with Kids Archive (www.surfnetkids.com). These sites are designed for young web surfers and are carefully reviewed, safe and recommended websites for children and contain literally all information that this segment of users need.
Research is an important component of students' activities. Researching generally requires high access to a wide array of information. Furthermore, research usually is time specific, which is strictly enforced particularly to the students. Search engines