Search technology marches on, and it pays to keep up with it, because it's in your students' future (if not already in their present). Visual representation of search results and of the interconnections among those results is one direction in which that search technology is marching. It has been "happening" for a good while now. Want to learn some of the latest?
Paula Hane, news bureau chief for Information Today, Inc. and editor of the weekly online NewsBreaks, has posted a story that will help you get into the subject: Groxis and Yahoo! Team Up to Grok the Web.
A sampling from Paula's article:
Grokker [Groxis' search tool] organizes and provides a visual map of search results, making it easy to discover, explore, and organize the information. The maps use size, shape, color, and order to present information in a dynamic contextual setting; clicking on an item in the map presents additional information, which can be viewed in various layers of detail.
Of course you really have to try it out to visualize what that means!
There is definitely a learning curve to using a technology like Grokker. While a picture might be better than a lot of text, it still can take some work to put the maps to best use. John Markoff recently noted in The New York Times that "The company faces an uphill challenge in persuading people to use its maps, however, according to researchers, market analysts, and competitors."
On the other hand, it seems to have great appeal in the educational community, both K-12 and higher ed. It has been particularly well-received at Stanford University, which was one of Groxis' first customers …
Italics in that last paragraph added by us, by the way. One reason we think it could appeal is that Grokker's approach might resonate with users of graphic organizers in K-12, and there are many of those.
Check out the article HERE, try out Grokker at http://grokker.com/ (try grokking Ridley sea turtle … click on those circles to drill down to myriad links … it's cool.), and tell your students about it.