Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Qwiki Mashup

Ever seen Wall*E and wished you had access to a search engine similar to the video wall that B. McCrea the Captain of the Axiom?  I know, I have, and finally there is one available in Alpha testing.  It's called Quiki.com and you can still get an invitation to the fun if you hurry!  Basically, Quiki is a mashup of Wikipedia, Google, Fotopedia and Youtube.  Hopefully they will continue to add applications to the mashup. When you conduct a search it basically builds a factual story about the topic of your choosing by pulling the first paragraph of a Wikipedia article and a voice begins reading while Quiki pulls and displays relevant photos and videos from Fotopedia and Youtube.  Sounds like a toy right? Well it is until you begin to think about the educational applications that abound here.

Let's use the Great Wall of China as a sample search.  Here's a preview of the results: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Great_Wall_of_China

This is an excellent search engine for younger students who are just learning to read.  A first grader who knows how to spell Great, Wall and China could now have easy access to the wealth of information provided in the mashup.  Additionally, because the computerized voice reads the text as it scrolls across the page, that same elementary school student can now follow along and get assistance in learning how to read.  Or maybe you have an ESL student who is struggling with vocabulary. They also can benefit from the same functionality.  Additionally, the student who is a visual or auditory learner can now easily access information.  There are a myriad of other ways that Quiki can be used in an educational setting, but perhaps it's best you sign up for an Alpha account and explore this new search engine on your own!

Once you have, feel free to comment on how you could see Quiki being used as an effective classroom tool.
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