This has been around a while and a few people have recommended Quintura to me, I have not actually used it until this week. I was looking for a new search engine that used clusters or the tag cloud concept.
I tried a search on the Middle ages. This is the main era for study for the year 8 history classes. The students can chose an aspect from that era on which they must do some in depth study. Some know exactly what they want to work on and others are less sure. I have spent a lesson with the classes working on refining their searches to achieve the best results.
I also try to encourage the students to define the means and applications by which they are able to employ their sifting and refining strategies. There are many and ever expanding number of ways in which they can explore the digital universe. Many like the visual searches.
iBoogie and Mooter have been used in the past to show clustering and they offered some visual leads to information but Mooter no longer mets our requirements. Many students need help in refining searches or thinking through topics so this is where Quintura can be used. It is a visual search that uses word association to refine search results.
Like iBoogie, Quintura splits the screen with the traditional (google-like) information on the right and a tag cloud on the left.
If the mouse hovers over any word in the cloud search added related terms appear. If you hover for a legth of time or “click” on the term, it is added to the search bar at the top and a new tag cloud appears.
This picked up the hundred years war. I like the fact that there are not too many tags on the screen at the one time, so it is less confusing.
Another bonus is that the the query results are very easy to share using email. This can be sent to a teacher as the student is working on his research, allowing the teacher to better understand the some of the searching stategies of the student. It would also be good for group work, where each member of the group might take a different aspect of the same topic.
The tabbed options at the top also make it very easy to switch to image or video searching without changing the query.
A different option is that you can easily convert any query results page into embeddable code for display on another web page.
The search results for Quinturawere quite good accuracy wise and it is viually easy to read/use. The searching was a bit like a journey of discovery at times. It was fine but, for myself, I really like to narrow things down right at the beginning of the search and, at times, it seemed to be a little bit slower at searching than some of the other search engines. Students did not find this a major quibble (just me!). Another search engine that is worth informing students about
It offers similar options to Quintura but you have a short results page with icons and large text. Results here seemed to be accurate, informative and more importantly, age-appropriate.