Monday, May 24, 2010

Using Technology in the Information-Literacy Classroom

Last week I found a link to Adam Bellow's "Library 2.0 Presentation." I discovered many new technology websites and was motivated to explore some that I had only heard about. He shared this presentation in New York in the month of February if I remember correctly.

So many search engines exist out there, and sometimes it can be enlightening for individuals to learn about a few alternatives to the super popular Google. They have evolved and become fancier with visual results, though some of them appear to be more for fun than for searching. Take a look at some of the following:
  • RedZ: Shows thumbnail images of half a dozen websites, so you can preview the source before you select it.

  • Search Cube: Images related to your search appear in a cube.

  • DoodleBuzz: Enter search terms, then doodle with your mouse. Results appear along the line you draw for an interesting visual map, though it does not seem to let you click on a title and jump to that website. I suppose that if you can save one of these visual search results it might go well with a report or presentation.

  • WolframAlpha: Computational Knowledge Enginge: Of all the new search engines I looked at this one got me the most excited. While it did not have fun pictures culled from Flickr (see Tag Galaxy), it did display one single page (read clean and uncluttered here) with a list of factual information about the item in question. The site includes examples of questions or queries, so it focuses on answering mathematical problems, but it does provide general information also. Examples: how many teaspoons in a cup, distance to the sun, height of Mount Fuji, facts about Pocatello, number of acres in a square mile, December 7, 1941 (tells you day of the week, phase of the moon, day of the year, and more about that specific date), etc.

    On their About page they describe their goals: "Wolfram|Alpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything."

  • Tag Galaxy: Narrow down image results by clicking on planets. When you want to view results, select the sun/star around which the planets/satellites revolve. These images are pulled from the popular photo sharing site,

The following sites are not so much search engines, but Web2.0 sites that invite participation or creativity:

  • Trailfire: This site allows you to create a pathfinder or a "trail" as they call it to important sites on the web.

  • It allows you to save sites in a visual manner and create your own online desktop with tabs if you wish.

  • Animoto: Create a video with your own images or film clips, then add text and music to spice up the video.

  • Flixtime: Lets you create and customize videos from your own photos and videos.

  • Glogster: Design, create, and publish your own digital poster.

  • Screentoaster: Record a screencast. Share and stream videos. Record what you are doing on the internet.

1 comment:

Angela said...

These are some great tools! Thank you so much for sharing. After creating Pathfinders the old fashion way in library school this semester, I am playing around with Trailfire and Wolfram/Alpha-some interesting applications for the information realm.