The Instagrok iPad App is Here

instaGrok has just released a free iPad app. The app combines the functionality of the web based version with interactivity to support learning on the touch screen. 

instaGrok is an intelligent visual search engine and interactive learning tool that collects content and displays it in the form of a cloud of related words. The tool is very appealing because it offers a variety of multimedia features to meet the unique learning needs of students. 







Students use the the visual mode to collect content, then they use the integrated journal to sort through collected content and take notes. Click on the push pin to add content to the journal then add original thoughts and ideas as notes. The journal can be emailed or printed for convenience.




instaGrok Integration with EasyBib 

The last time I shared instaGrok through this blog I included a wish list. On that wish list was a suggestion to integrate the tool with EasyBib. I am very excited to announce that the teams have worked together to build information literacy and digital citizenship into the instaGrok interactive learning process.
  • instaGrok collects sources pinned to the concept map.
  • The web based version exports sources with one click and imports them to EasyBib for creating citations. 
  • The iPad App launches a screen requiring students to evaluate the credibility of the source.




Final Thoughts

Students with 1:1 iPads will most likely find this app extremely useful as they dig deeper into content through research and improve their ability to express learning through writing. 

Download the instaGrok app from the iTunes Store.

InstaGrok – Visual Search Engine & Interactive Learning Tool

InstaGrok is an intelligent visual search engine and interactive learning tool that collects educational content and displays it in the form of a cloud of related words. The tool is very appealing because it offers a variety of multimedia features to meet the unique learning needs of students. In addition to the visual map, content is displayed in the form of text, images, video and web links. Also, students can use the handy slider tool to access usable information by self selecting the level of difficulty of results displayed.


Just enter a search term in the box to generate a word cloud and instaGrok collects an assortment of useful and related content that is categorized and displayed on the screen. As users sift the information they can use the push pin to add relevant content directly to the word cloud, allowing for the construction of a personalized web of knowledge about a concept.

Search Results – Graph View

In addition to the the visual mode, an integrated journal and note-taking feature allows users to take notes without leaving the site. Click on the push pin to add content to the journal then add original thoughts and ideas as notes. Teachers should consider using the journal space for collecting citations too. The journal can be emailed or printed for convenience.

Journal View for Notetaking

As an added bonus for teachers, instaGrok displays auto-generated quizzes with every search to provide students with opportunities for self study. There is also a features that provides teachers with the ability to create classes and provide students with a code for logging in.

Wish List
InstaGrok is a relatively new tool and it is truly amazing right out of the box, but here is my wish list of features that could improve the tool:

  1. Integrate it with Google Apps, allowing students to click a button, authenticate their login and save the information directly to their list of Docs.
  2. Add an EasyBib button so students can jump to EasyBib to easily create citations and store them all in one convenient spot.
Many thanks to Grace at SimpleK12 for introducing me to this tool yesterday, what a great find!

Oolone and More Search Engines for Students

Oolone is a new visual search engine that displays results as web previews instead of text, offering a nice option for efficient and intuitive searching.  An oolone search displays the top four results in a grid that allows uses to scroll over the images to  get a closer look at the site before actually selecting it.  Designed to be a quicker and more efficient way to search, it speaks to the idea that that sometimes an image is the best answer to a question.

With the added bonus of plugins available  for Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, it’s easier than ever to offer students search options to fit their unique learning styles. I’ve added it to my Bag of Search Engines for Students found below. If you like this Bag, feel free to click on the embed button at the bottom and quickly embed it in a place for student use.


http://bagtheweb.com/embed_bag/JaKUw4/width/500

Twurdy: Search by Appropriate Readibility Levels

 

Twurdy is a Google powered search tool that displays results at appropriate readability levels. Just enter a search term to get color-coded results which determine how easy the page will be to understand. This is certainly a useful tool to help all learners succeed and also a good tool to add to any teacher’s toolkit of resources.

If you think the name of this search engine will be difficult to remember, perhaps knowing that it was derived from a play on words, “Too Wordy?”, will help you remember it.

Try Twurdy