Considering that the first part of its name is “Boo”, Boolify should probably have been yesterday’s Halloween post. It is still a timely site, however. Boolify is a simple tool for teaching students how to do web searches using basic Boolean Search Operators. There is the tool, itself, on the home page, as well as a few other resources under the “Lessons” link. The search results come from Bing, so this is not a “safe search” tool. However, it would be good to use for demonstration purposes with younger students. Older students may enjoy the simplicity of the tool, as well. This might be a good tool to use with Kentucky Virtual Library’s “How to do Research” site.
I have been reading about instaGrok on various blogs for a month or two. It is a search engine that “maps” your topic. In addition, it suggests videos and creates quizzes for your topic. There is even a toggle bar to change the level of complexity of the results. While I agree that it is a unique way to search for information, my brief explorations of the site did not make me feel that it belonged on this blog. Until yesterday.
A co-worker of mine, Kacie Germadnik, mentioned to me that she liked the “class” option in instaGrok, and had been using it with her gifted third graders for a research project. Curious, I actually registered for the site (which is free). It was then that I was able to realize the full power of this tool. As a teacher, you can create a class code. This enables your students to also register on the site without needing e-mail addresses.
You don’t need to register to use instaGrok for research, but being logged in allows you to “pin” information to a note-taking journal that can then be printed or e-mailed. This is an amazingly intuitive and user-friendly way to gather information about a topic on the internet.