Yolink and Sweet Search and Research, oh my!

I’ll be offering a presentation at ISTE in Denver in June on Collaborating with Google Apps in the 21st Century Classroom. I learned that “21st Century” trick from my boss – he’s had multiple proposals accepted to speak at a variety of conferences. Also, he deems the use of “Web 2.0” as quaint.

While at ISTE, I’ll also be spending some time at the Yolink booth talking about the product and sharing my experiences using it as a search tool in the classroom.

Yolink

These are a few of my favorite things about Yolink:

  1. It mines any Google search-results page or any text-based site for specific key words or phrases. As the Yolink evangelists put it, “It’s like Google with X-ray glasses!”
  2. It color codes your search words so you can see which webpage includes which keywords and visually scan your search results before even opening a page.
  3. It integrates seemlessly with Google Docs, so that a whole page or only specific paragraphs can be imported into a new Doc or an existing Doc. This is great for note-taking (and plagiarists), and it led to interesting discussions with some of my 6th graders yesterday.
  4. Results can be fed to EasyBib to create instant citations of websites found.
  5. Yolink results can also be fed to Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Diigo, Blogger, WordPress, Evernote, and Email to archive and share your results.

Screen_shot_2010-05-06_at_10

I also recently learned about Sweet Search. As their website states, it is a search engine for students and “searches only 35,000 Web sites that have been approved by our staff. SweetSearch allows students to choose the most relevant result from a list of credible results, without the distraction of unreliable sites.” How great is that?

Sweetsearch

I shared both of these site with the faculty and with my 8th graders today. The kids are all currently working independently on Social Action Projects; The goal is for students to pick a topic that interests them, research it, and follow through with some sort of corresponding action (community service, raising awareness, raising money). I’m currently sitting next to a terrific girl who chose Deforestation and plans to create a pop-up book to teach younger kids how to understand the effects of deforestation on our environment.

The 8th graders were really positive about both tools, as they were able to search more pointedly with Sweet Search while Yolink enabled them to scan through the results without even opening the pages. Win-Win.

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