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Qwiki- transforming the search into a story

What it is: Have you seen Wall-E?  Remember the scene when the captain finally starts taking charge and goes to his wall of computers to learn about Earth?  He tells his computer to “define Earth” and a wall of images of Earth pop up complete with computer narration.  In the definition of Earth he hears about the sea and interrupts the explanation so that he can have the sea defined.  This concept of information presentation is a reality…or nearly a reality.  There is a new way of information searching called  Qwiki.  Search using Qwiki and instead of coming up with a list of links to websites, images, and videos, a slide show of images and videos begins complete with computer voice narration.  It is truly an incredible experience.  Why are we still using textbooks again? Qwiki is currently in Alpha which means that you have to request an invitation to get the full version of Qwiki, flaws and all. It is worth requesting an invitation; it is jaw dropping!  Even without an invitation, you can head over to Qwiki and get an idea of what it does. There are a few preloaded Qwiki searches that you can check out.  Qwiki believes that “just because data is stored by machines doesn’t mean it should be presented as a machine-readable list.”  Qwiki has transformed the search into a story. How to integrate Qwiki into your curriculum: Qwiki is limited in its search capabilities right now (in that it won’t necessarily come up with a result for EVERYTHING you want to search), but the current Alpha version of Qwiki gives you more than enough great material to start using it in your classrooms.  I have searched everything from mitosis to the solar system to rational numbers to Romeo and Juliet to Shiba Inu to Google and World War 2.  Each had fantastic content, images and information.  Qwiki is going to revolutionize the way that we search and receive information.  The way that it pares a search down into a story is brilliant. Use Qwiki on classroom computers as part of a center activity, students can dig deeper into science, math, history, geography, or literature using Qwiki to search.  Your students can learn more about any topic by searching related topics.  Use Qwiki to introduce new concepts to your students using a projector connected computer or interactive whiteboard for whole class learning and discussion.  Do you have reluctant or struggling readers?  Allow them to read along with Qwiki on their favorite topic or subject.  Teach older students? Involve them on conversation about the implications of making our searches “more human” while relying on a computer.  What could this type of searching mean for Google?  Does this type of searching change their views on learning?  Does this type of search feel too much like entertainment without offering enough information? What would they change or add to Qwiki? Tips: Qwiki is currently in Alpha, that means if you would like to access the full version, you will have to request an invite.  I got my invite within 5 minutes of requesting.  As you run across features that you wish Qwiki had (the ability to slow down the narration, the ability to change voices) be sure to let them know.  If you run across glitches, report those. When a product is in Alpha, it gets better and better when people use it and comment on their experience. What do you think? Are you as bowled over as I am? What implications do you see a tool like Qwiki having for education? How will you use it in your classroom? Leave a comment!

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Project PLN November Issue: Sharing issue

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, professional development, Project PLN, Teacher Resources | Posted on 29-11-2012

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I’m a little behind this week (actually this year has been one big game of playing catch-up).  Last week, Nick and I published the latest issue of Project PLN.  It is worth reading through, it gave me just the right jolt of inspiration to tackle some of the catch-up project that have been on the outskirts for too long.  I hope it does the same for you!  You should know, right now I am giving myself giant pats on the back for posting the November issue here BEFORE December.  Sometimes it is the little things that keep you going 🙂

Here in the US we are polishing off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers.  Luckily those things that we are thankful for linger much longer than the turkey.   You know what we are thankful for?  Our PLN!  You all are truly incredible.  We are so thankful for the ways that you share with us (and educators around the world).  A BIG thank you to all of our contributors for the November Sharing Issue. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you. That is the truth!

This issue is jam-packed full of great lesson ideas(grammar can be fun, Count of Monte Cristo on trial!), helpful techy tips (great Google Chrome extensions), inspiration to keep plugging ahead, and much more!  Take some time to relax and be inspired this week. Consider this issue a big THANK YOU for all that you do for education every day.

We are now accepting submissions for the March Issue. We have decided to label it the “Innovation Issue”. We want to dedicate this issue to creative/innovative ideas in education and in classrooms.  What are you doing in your school/classroom that others should be?  What needs to change?  What adjustments must be made to allow room for this innovation?

If you think you have something awesome to share, please send an email to ProjectPLN10@gmail.com and we will add it to the March Issue. Please follow the guidelines for submissions below so we can quickly and easily load your posts to the site.

Please email the article or link to the article to ProjectPLN10@gmail.com

Please include a small bio that includes your blog, Twitter handle and other information you would like to share. A picture is encouraged, but not required.

It may be a piece you have published on your blog already. A good idea is still a good idea even if you had it a few months ago.

Please submit posts by Monday March 4. We expect for the issue to go live on Tuesday March 12.

Thanks again for all of the support you have given Project PLN over the years.

Have an awesome school year,

Kelly  and Nick

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