Thursday, March 29, 2012


instaGrok is a free search engine site that looks like a mix between Tag Galaxy and Google's Wonder Wheel.  When you type in a search term, you will get a connected web of results.  From the original search results, you can click on a subcategory that will then expand with a new web of related terms and topics.

For each search topic on the right of your screen you will see:
  • key facts 
  • website links to information 
  • videos
  • images
  • quizzes
  • concepts
A sliding button at the top of the page lets you toggle your search results from beginner to expert.  At the expert level you will get a more defined search of the topic, while the beginner level is a much broader scope.

If you create a free account with instaGrok, you then have the opportunity to keep a journal of your search results, and can even "pin" topics you wish to save.

Classroom Integration Ideas:
instaGrok can be a great tool for students to use to refine a research topic and to organize that information while conducting their research. Teachers can take advantage of the linked videos and quizzes to use in their lessons.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Three Timeline Tools

Being a former social studies teacher, timelines have always interested me.  Below are three sites that allow users to create interactive timelines  

Better World Flux is a site that allows users to create animated visualizations of development data. To use Better World Flux simply select a data(such as life expectancy, child mortality rate, mobile subscription, etc) set from the menu provided and select the countries you would like to see the data on. An animated data visualization is created, which will change as the years on the timeline at the bottom of the visualization change. You can see growth and recession of a statistic over time.
Classroom integration ideas:

  • Students can track the progress of countries from a list of given indicators
  • Students create and share most compelling visualization timeline

XTimeline is a site that allows students fine information about featured timelines, as well as create their own.  The timelines can be collaborated on, just as they would when making a wiki, to build a multimedia timeline. Timelines built using XTimeline can include text, images, and video, and will accept dates in A.D./B.C. format.

The timelines can be embedded into a website or blog.

Classroom integration ideas:

  • Students can easily research the life of famous figures. 
  • Students can create a timeline for a specific topic and include images. 
  • Younger students (or as introduction to timelines in JH) could create a personal timeline using their own images and information. 

Time Toast is free site that allows users to easily build their own interactive timeline.
To add events to a timeline, users click on the "add an event" button. An event box pops up, allowing the you to enter enter text, place a link, or add a picture. Once built the timeline can be shared via a URL or embedded into another site.

Classroom integration ideas:
  • Students can create a timeline for a specific topic and include images.