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.


UPDATE 10/12/2020: Unfortunately, this resource no longer exists.

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.