Mashpedia – more real-time information plus…

So many ideas for taking what is out there in cyberspace and mashing them together to create something new. Mashpedia is not a search engine, nor is it wikipedia but something completely new. I found this tool thanks to a post on the excellent Free Technology for Teachers Blog.

Mashpedia aggregates data from multiple feeds from sources such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Digg, Twitter, news sources, blogs, book search engines and web pages in general and then puts it all neatly together in one spot. The layout is quite clean and easy to scan through and/or read more closely. I would love to shift some of the different fields/modules around to suit my idea f importance but this is a minor matter.

The tool works best when you can clearly define what you’re looking for. This is a skill I am trying to teach our students and this tool may help me illustrate my point.

I searched for Jessica Watson and found a great deal of information. There was a lead article that provided a basic data about her, along with the most relevant videos available, a stream of current Twitter messages, latest news, images, blog posts and links.

Search Grand prix gives you a definition and you are informed it could be connected to 12 different items and then goes on to list 4 other headings with more listings under them. Assorted images and videos come up that indicated that this is a search that needs to be more specific.

A search on Iceland retrieved images from the recent stunning volcanic explosion, along with Twitter chatter that indicate renewed concern, a Wikipedia entry, various news items and blog posts. Mashpedia also offers semantic connections between the articles, in form of links.

When working with students on current issues I have been using Silobreaker (discussed in an earlier post) and IceRocket (earlier post) for real-time information but I can see that Mashpedia with it extra information also offers students and teachers an extra dimension to their search for information.

I also tried the World War II search suggested on the Free technology 4 teachers blog. Mashpedia did well at collating the more constant (and evergreen) material along with the newest additions to information on the Web. This type of search would help students find the many varied types information now available to them via the web and see the thumbnails to decide whether or not it might be useful for them.

Worth noting is that there has been a comment about some less than appropriate ads that pop up on some of the results pages but, due to our school filter, I have not seen them so this is not an issue here.

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