Here's a place to find creative, educational ways for your children and students to use the computer and lots of online tools. They'll have fun and be learning about computers at the same time. Adults will have fun too!

Friday, June 10, 2011

TWURDY - Google Search Results Sorted by Reading Ability

Twurdy is an interesting new search engine currently in Beta. Twurdy's premise is that it searches the internet but then "grades" the results by reading level. This could come in handy!
Here's Twurdy's own description of itself.


About Twurdy
The name "Twurdy" comes from a play on words with the question "Too Wordy?".
The philosophy? Everyone has different reading abilities. Some people searching the web are university professors and others are 5 year old children. Twurdy has been created to provide people with access to search results that suit their own readability level.

What does it do? Twurdy uses text analysis software to "read" each page before it is displayed in the results. Then Twurdy gives each page a readability level. Twurdy then shows the readability level of the page along with a color coded system to help users determine how easy the page will be to understand.

The Goal? Twurdy's goal is to provide web searchers with information that is most appropriate for them. This will mean that 10 year olds doing school assignments don't have to click through difficult material to find something they can use. It will also mean that phd students do not have to click through websites designed for kids in order to find what they are looking for.

I love that Twurdy gives a reading level both by number and by color coding the entries. The lightest shade of orange is easiest to read, the darker colors are progressively more complex to read. They have created an algorithm that uses number of syllables, number of words on a page and average sentence length. Then they apply this algorithm to Google search results for the same input. While this seems like it will be most useful in educational settings you do still get the advertising components of a Google search so teachers should be aware of that. However, this could be a big timesaver for teachers and students searching on the web.

Find Twurdy at http://www.twurdy.com/index.php.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Creative Google Searching

My 8 year old just discovered a very fun set  of options for searching on Google as we were looking at pictures of bedroom decorating ideas for her room.  Do a Google image search for anything but preferably something colorful - like paint ideas, artwork, paintings, knitting, flowers, etc.  Then check out the lower left hand corner of the page and look for squares of different colors.
Click on any of the different color squares to have your search sorted by color.
What a boon to interior decorating!  Not to mention fun and creative for kids and adults.  There are other options for searching too such as the size of the image, whether or not there are faces in the picture, line drawings and clip art.

We had fun playing with this and we hope you do too.
I always recommend adult supervision for children browsing the internet and especially Google images.  It's amazing the pictures that will show up with the most innocent search.