Leap.it: A Visual Social Search Engine for ELLs

Whenever you search for something online, you probably have a go-to search engine, like Google, that can help you out with anything you could possibly imagine. You likely view the list of results in the traditional link and brief summary format. This might very well work for you, but for English language learners, that is a lot of text to sort through, so next time you have your students in the computer lab or doing research at home, send them to Leap.it.

Leap.it is a new search engine that provides a totally different kind of search experience. When you do a search, results are displayed in a grid format with previews, images, and even videos right there for students to see. There is still plenty of text, but the pictures and video stills can really help students determine which sites are most relevant to their search and get them searching smarter, not harder. At any level, students will find the visual aspects of Leap.it useful. If students are looking for a specific type of media, they can filter to see, for example, just the videos, images, or news about the topic. Additionally, the related searches box in the top left corner can help students fine-tune their search if the initial results were not sufficient.

In addition to the visuals, there is a strong social aspect to Leap.it. If you choose to create a free account, you can make “perspectives,” which are basically just collections of results you want to save together. The introduction video explains this concept more clearly, but it seems pretty simple with the same drag and drop format that has become so common on other sites. The perspectives you create then get added to search results and can be shared via social media, which is kind of neat. If you have a Twitter or Facebook page for your class, students can share their perspectives directly with the class.

While I will likely stick with Google for my searches, students will definitely appreciate the various features that Leap.it offers, and there are a lot of unique ways teachers could incorporate Leap.it into classes using the social options it offers.

Have you found a search engine that your students prefer OR have you tried Leap.it out with your class? If so, please leave a comment below.

About Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen recently completed her Master’s degree in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California. She currently teaches in the Intensive English Program at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has taught ESOL in China, Japan, and Cambodia as well as online. Her primary interests are communicative teaching methods and the use of technology in education.

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2 Responses to Leap.it: A Visual Social Search Engine for ELLs

  1. Yeri says:

    Dear Tara,
    I really enjoy using Leap.it as a search engine. I have not introduced it to my students, but I am sure they will like and enjoy it. The visual images are very revealing about the contents of websites we are looking for and make it easier and faster to find the website we intended to find.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Dear Yeri,
      Thank you for your comment! I am glad that Leap.it is working out well for you and hope that your students like it too. Please feel free to post again with feedback on students’ use.