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Wonder: A Search Engine Fueled by Research Experts – Save Time, Learn Anything

by Kelly Walsh on April 27, 2015

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Wonder … a Search Engine Unlike Any Other!

Wonder is a very different type of search engine. Instead of computer generated feedback, a real human being who is an expert researcher will find the best sources for you, and send them to you within an hour! You can spend less time reviewing the overwhelming number of responses that today’s search engines typically produce, and more time focused on your research.

The folks from Wonder sent me some examples of recent searches and results offered to help shed some light on how it works.

Teachers Using Wonder

A computer instructor searched for “education technology for elementary students” and requested technology lesson examples for elementary school level students. Emily Cox, a professional and freelance journalist of 10 years, sent back a “Wonderlist” of sources re: education technology for elementary students. “As technology becomes more ingrained in the fundamentals of how we interact with the world, it is becoming more important than ever to start teaching children to master these technologies as a young age. Lesson plans aren’t just about learning the basic technology anymore. They are about learning through the technology. These links will help Elementary students do just that: Wonderlist of sources re: Education Technology for Elementary Students.

Students Using Wonder

An anatomy student recently searched for the difference between Broca’s area vs. Wernicke’s area. Researcher Anna Olechchowska returned the follow summary and this resource guide (Wonder call this a “#wonderlist”),  Wonderlist of sources re: Broca’s Area vs. Wernicke’s Area.

“At first, it may be difficult to differentiate Broca’s area from Wernicke’s area as they both have to do with speech, but there are a few differences which you can focus on remembering in order to help you better understand the two. Let’s start with Broca’s area, which is located in the frontal lobe. Broca’s area is the motor speech area and it helps in movements required to produce speech. When there is an issue in this area, a patient can understand the speech of others, but can’t produce any speech him or her self. This is called Broca’s aphasia. Wernicke’s area, which is located in the parietal and temporal lobe, is the sensory area. It helps in understanding speech and using the correct words to express our thoughts. When there is an issue in this area, a patient may be able to produce speech, but cannot understand the speech of others. This is called Wernicke’s aphasia. I’ll link you to a few information videos and articles that will help you further understand these concepts.”

As another example, close to midnight, a high school student searched for information on Apollo 11 because she had put a research paper off until the night before the due date. Wonder researcher Marty returned these results to help her find citable sources.

 

“I provided 6 links to give your paper a good background on the political environment at the time. The first link is an overview of the events of the Apollo 11 flight. The second is a two-parter giving an overview of the Cold War’s role in the American Apollo program. The third describes the Soviet government’s reaction to the moon landing, via an interview with a top politician’s son (he also happens to be an engineer and was working on a space project at the time, so he also offers some technological insight). The fourth describes American sentiment AGAINST the Space Race, which is frequently forgotten even though the program occurred parallel to civil rights demonstrations and high sentiment against the military. The fifth is political speculation on how the Soviets and Americans would have reacted to the USSR winning the Space Race; it also provides further commentary on the Race, from a third point of view (namely, British). Finally, we have a site with a very long and dry outline of the Soviet lunar program. Helpfully, it is from a Soviet point of view. The three most important words for you on that page are Soyuz, Korolev, and Mishin: the name of the Soviet manned lunar program, and the two names of its leaders during the 1960s.”

 
Curious People Using Wonder

A gardener searched for plants for dry shade then specified they were seeking plants to grow beneath a fruitless mulberry on the south side of a house. Emily Cox responded with this Wonderlist of information about plants that grow in dry shade

“While gardening in the shade is a challenge in and of itself, gardening under tree cover comes with additional obstacles. In addition to low light levels, these plants must compete with shading trees for nutrients and water, and tolerate poor air circulation. Below are plants that thrive the best in these conditions, as well as tips to make the environment more hospitable for additional plant life.”

Wonder is new, different, and pretty awesome. So go ahead … submit your own question!

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded EmergingEdTech.com. As an education and instructional technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, regularly running Flipped Class Workshops online. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Kelly also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by kwalshmusic.com and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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