Viewzi – another new cool visual search engine.

On the back of yesterday’s post about Searchme comes the release today of Viewzi, a new visual search engine. I pity the poor software developers out there trying to hack their brains for new names that are going to stick! Like Searchme, the visual interface is intriguing.  Viewzi opens up to a clean interface with a search box. When you enter a term your results page looks like this;

My search term was whaling and 15 possible windows presented themselves for opening. There are a variety of mediums for you to select from; MP3 files, video files, Reuter’s News view,  Web screenshot view, Simple Text view with rankings from Alexa, Google and Yahoo, 4 sources view which searches Ask, Google, MSN and Yahoo and many others including photo sites, Amazon and even cookbooks!

Here’s what the page looks like when you select video files;

 

You can remove tags from the results page and this will eliminate videos that are tagged with that term. A good visual way of teaching students how you can narrow a search according to key words you use. There’s no doubt this is a busy search engine with a plethora of options that may be a bit overwhelming for the novice searcher. However I do think it’s another great way to demonstrate to our students that there is more out there than their usual default search engine of choice.

As John Connell and Clenda pointed out in comments on my Searchme post, the results you get may be a bit hit and miss at this stage. These search engines are in beta and need time to develop into something great. I’m still going to give them a go -I think they’ve got the engagement factor that can get our students excited about search and may go a long way toward leading them to new learning opportunities that they may have missed if they’d just scanned through the first page of results from their text based search engine. Give Viewzi a try.    

Network power

I was exhausted last night when I finished writing yesterday’s post. Had about six hours sleep then had to get up early to take one of my kids to an early morning swim session. Arrived very early at work and logged on to check out the blog traffic. Wasn’t expecting much; who would be interested in reading about why I decided to start writing a blog and why I think it’s important to get our students learning in this environment.

Well, one look at my blog stats suggested otherwise! Last night’s post generated more traffic than I’ve ever had before. John Connell was kind enough to leave a comment and in a subsequent email said that he thinks a post like that resonates as it reminds bloggers about why they do what they do. Vicki Davis gave me some analogies she uses to describe the differences between wikis and blogs;

“I like to think of wikis as the collection and the blog as the album. Wikis as a chorus and a blog as a solo. Wikis for fact and blogs for opinion and voice. I think that both are needed as we try to teach both collaborators and individualistic thinker/inventors.”

Thanks Vicki. I used this in the afternoon PD session with my fellow staff – one participant read this and said, “That’s perfect, now I understand the difference. I was too embarrassed to ask before.” I think this is something we need to be very mindful of. During the session I was referring to plugins and widgets and had to clarify with the staff that this terminology has become familiar to me because I work with it now. It’s become relevant to me  – another example of how we learn best – when something has meaning for us we take it in, understand it and apply it to our needs.

My colleagues seemed interested and I got a round of applause at the end so that must mean something. One of our Heads of Year is keen to get involved in the Global Cooling project and sent me an email during the presentation so hopefully we’ll be able to get on board and have our students feeling empowered and making a difference.

Thanks network – being able to show my staff the huge spike in my blog stats and the cluster map locations were two of the most effective moments in the presentation. I think people could see that the world really is becoming flatter and we could be exploring possibilities for our students to operate in and learn from this collaborative network. I’ll wait and see if the seed planted today bears fruit.