Just found this site today. It has probably been around for awhile but Google likes to hide these little things.
Remember in school when you needed to do a research report and you had to go from book to book to find the data to create your table of information or search for information for each specific paragraph. I remember too well having to write a report on the planets in the solar system, the number of moons it had, etc. If the idea was for students to learn how to comb through resources, encyclopedias, research books, etc., well, thanks to Google, that type of report has just been made irrelevant.
Google has a new service called Google Squared that allows you do a search for a topic from which Google will compile a spreadsheet of data based on that search that you can then filter, add to or delete from if the entries are not relevant. While still needing work in some areas, it is still a powerful tool for the compiling of data that used to take a lot of googling or looking through books to find. Google Squared sifts through online data to find, what it thinks is the most relevant data, sorts it by type and displays it in a chart like format which you can then share or export.
The Google site states that:
Google Squared is a search tool that helps you quickly build a collection of facts from the Web, for any topic you specify.
- Facts about your topic are organized into a table of items and attributes (we call them “Squares” for fun).
- Customize these Squares to see just the items and attributes you’re interested in.
- See the websites that served as sources for the information in your Square.
- Save and share Squares with others.
I tried a number of different searches with the service including several of the suggested ones. They worked very well giving me an impressive amount of data. Here is one on Canadian Prime Ministers:
Clicking on “Add a column” will bring up pre-selected choices based on the information or it will allow you to do a search for a relevant type of information that you would like added to the coloumn. You can sort columns in a few different ways and if you don’t want one of the rows, simply click on the “x” at the beginning of each row.
Once I tried my own searches, things got a little more iffy with more filtering needed. Himalaya mountains worked, as did whales, cockroaches and whales. However, stars needed more attention as I wanted the universe type as opposed to the Johnny Depp type. All in all, it worked out well and I am sure that things will improve as more attention is given to it.
Are we seeing the end of the traditional school report? Does this continue the shift in learning and educating we have seen since educational technology and web tools have gained in prominence? What does this mean for school reports? Already, I think that this continues the cry for a change from the emphasis on finding information to one of teaching students filtering strategies.
Do you see this site changing anything in your class or community? Send us a comment with your thoughts.