Friday, March 21, 2014

Alternative to Google....Instagrok!

I am constantly looking for ways to teach solid research skills to students and provide them with options to find quality sources. In the world where everyone Googles, I feel it is important to provide other alternatives. I was fortunate to present at Hopkinton High last week with their amazing library teacher at their in house staff development day. I love when I learn new things and was introduced to Instagrok. Instagrok themselves describes it best: (from their website)
"instaGrok is an innovative educational search engine that combines sophisticated semantic technology with an interactive user interface to make learning more engaging, personalized and fun for everyone. instaGrok is used by hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and everyday people every month."
Istagrok results are returned using the mind map concept. It has a slide where you can level the results based on difficulty. In addition the results are broken up into categories, "key facts" "websites" "videos" "images" and "concepts." There is a quiz you can take based on your search topic. For example, I did a search on Parkinson's Disease and they provided a quiz asking basic informational questions about Parkinson's. It could be used as a pre-assessment.  There is also a place to journal, students can keep notes they are collecting from the resources right on their account page. There is a paid subscription but so far the free version has been top notch. This is one of the best tools I have seen in awhile! Check it out and thanks Kirsten for sharing!!! Hopkinton is lucky to have you!!

Well the first round of playoffs are in and there were some hotly contested games including a tie that had to go into a play off game!! But the next round of books has been decided in the Battle of the Books...Come down for the next round of voting, all this week! There have been tears, trials and tribulations about the outcome....
The next round of play offs are the following:
Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian vs. Beautiful Creatures
Lovely Bones vs. Crank
Delirium vs. Fangirl
City of Bones vs. Fault in Our Stars
Book Thief vs. Looking for Alaska
Hunger Games vs. Mockingjay
Speak vs. Perks of a Being a Wallflower
Glass Castle vs. To Kill a Mockingbird

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