One of the greatest things about Discovery Education and the DEN is our family of STAR educators amongst several different PLNs. We all know the power of our PLNs when it comes to support, advice, and sharing. It was about a week ago I learned of an interactive search site that automatically creates a media presentation for you based on the topic being researched. This new Web 2.0 site is known as Qwiki. In trying to determine a great way to explain this site I read through their About Us and came across this quote as part of their description.
We’ve all seen science fiction films (or read novels) where computers are able to collect data on behalf of humans, and present the most important details. This is our goal at Qwiki – to advance information technology to the point it acts human.
Here is Qwiki’s introduction video from their Tech Crunch presentation posted on Vimeo.
In exploring the main page of their site you will see a search window at the top of the page. If you are not sure about a topic to search, consider exploring the “Featured Qwiki categories” consisting of Daily, Monuments, Natural Wonders, Animals and Historical Figures. Honestly, this may be a great first approach to learning how this site operates. Upon selecting a featured category you will have a variety of images to select from in performing a search. Once you click on an image it compiles and starts playing the informative presentation. An additional feature that makes this site stand out is how text appears just below the visual images that serves as closed captions for the audio stream of information included in the media presentation.
In all, I was quite pleased with the speed of the site to identify resources as well as creating a flash based media presentation that included audio descripton along with still photographs. The results page will provide you a variety of addtional resources as well as links to share your search via socialnetwork options along with links to YouTube, Wikipedia, Google, and Fotopedia (an awesome collaborative photo encyclopedia website in it’s own right).
In all, I am very impressed with Qwiki’s functionality, simplicity and speed from the time a term is provided in the search box to compiling resources to end result of flash based media presenation being displayed.
Knowing this month is Black History month and being a baseball fan I decided to provide a sample of Qwiki’s media search for Negro League Baseball. Here is what Qwiki immediately created for my viewing upon search completion.
Additional resources that can be incorporated into the classroom to accompany this short video presentation comes from the web as well. Educators can visit the Negro Leagues Baseball eMuseum and find teacher resources, library research, as well as other historical facts about those amazing men that competed daily in America’s sport.