March 19, 2012

Search Simplified

A new iPhone app simplifies your student’s search life

Wondering what your child is doing online? Perhaps designing the next big thing.

Take, for example, the story of Summly, an iPhone app developed by British teenager Nick D’Aloisio. Nick developed the app in his spare time. It wasn’t his first effort, either. Prior to Summly, he created SongStumblr, a music discovery service, and Facemood, a service that relied on an algorithm to explore Facebook profiles and report a user’s mood.

It was while doing his homework that D’Aloisio had the idea for a service that would make Internet searches more efficient, more effective, and less of a drain on a student’s time and energies. In order to better navigate web search results and their endless stream of links, users can rely on Summly to provide concise summaries of web page content so that every link doesn’t have to be followed or read before deciding whether it has value to the user. In essence, the app summarizes the result of your web search so you don’t have to. (Why is that important? Part of the answer is here.)

Summly doesn’t just automatically generate a summary of your search results, the app will summarize specific web pages or articles imported into the free service. Custom searches can also be saved for ongoing access.

At the moment, Summly is limited to the iPhone, but a recent investment of $250,000 by Li Ka-Shing and Horizons Ventures means it won’t be long before the search tool is available on more devices and, more likely, embedded in the suite of services you’re already using—including Facebook and other social media platforms.






Latest Reads

About Learning Starts

LEARNING STARTS is a quick digital guide to education and learning now. Written with today's parents in mind, our guide is optimistic because we’re excited about all that’s happening to engage young people in classrooms and community organizations around the world.

read more

K-5 Kids

We’ve talked about the importance of reading with your kids and serving as models for lifelong learning. Research continues to highlight the value of the shared practice for developing their literacy skills, preparing them for elementary school and the world beyond.

Middle School

We’ve been hearing about game-based learning for quite some time, along with the promise that any day now software engineers and game designers will figure out a way to harness the near-addictive enthusiasm kids bring to video games to help them learn. That day might indeed be close, given the big names now throwing energy and resources at the challenge, including Bill Gates himself.

High School

Contributing to Five Things I’ve Learned, Dr. Russell J. Quaglia, the president and founder of the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations (QISA), reminds us that asking questions is easy. Engaging students and helping them move forward with their ambitions is what makes real change—and brilliant futures—possible.