Saturday, November 15, 2008


Has anyone used Search-Cube with kids? I can see that it might work really well for them when they are doing research. It is powered by Google, but instead of returning pages of hits as text, it gives you a virtual 3-D cube of hits as thumbnails. You can use the arrow keys to rotate the cube to view all the hits. Hovering over a thumbnail pops up a larger copy of the image. Clicking on an image opens that site in a new tab or window. Here is a search-cube of hits for a search of the word knitting.

search-cube - the Visual Search Engine
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Now generally I'm not a proponent of having elementary kids use Google. Their media literacy skills are such that they can't scan a list of hits to quickly determine which hits are relevant and which are from reliable sources. I much prefer vetting sites in advance.

However, there are plenty of times when I do turn to Google with a child, usually when they come to me with a question and I don't know the answer. I wonder if being able to "see" the hits rather than read their text would help them more quickly find hits that meet their needs.

Or, it could be more problematic and distracting. I remember years ago a child was researching prairie fires. I was sitting with him and in addition to the relevant hits, the Google search brought up hits for a music group and a mixed drink, both of whom were called Prairie Fire. I can imagine this child being easily distracted by rock group photos. I can also imagine them more often "seeing" inappropriate things.

What do you think? Would you use it with kids? Do you think it would be more useful to them than a straight Google search?