Interactive Whiteboards in Australia

News, ideas and discussion about interactive whiteboards in education

Posts Tagged ‘search’

Search images with Tag Galaxy

Posted by rosiemacalpine on February 13, 2009

Tag Galaxy is a Flickr photo search that displays the results in a beautiful and unique way.

When you go to the site, you are asked to enter a keyword. I entered Perth and got this result:



This lovely galaxy of tags rotates slowly. It’s an excellent way to see what keywords or tags are associated with a topic (remembering that these are user photos). If I click on one of the smaller planets (e.g. Beach) a new galaxy with new keywords will open up. 



When I click on the central planet in any galaxy, photos from Flickr with those tags fly on to the planet.



You can then rotate the globe with your pen or finger, and double click on any image to see a larger size.


Flickr images are moderated, so you can feel reasonably safe to do the search in front of a class. However, it never hurts to do a quick search before they arrive, just in case anything unexpected appears!


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Using Google Images more effectively

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 10, 2008

When I’m making a flipchart for my whiteboard, my first stop for images is the Resource Library. The Search function (magnifying glass symbol) is quick and effective, and I’m often surprised how many resources are available for my topic.

If I’m doing something more specific though, or would like a change, my next stop is Google Images.

Here’s my five top tips for getting the results you want with Google Images.

1. Be specific. Typing cake into Google images returns 44,400,000 images. Chocolate cake returns 3,120,000. Slice chocolate cake returns 216,000 – much better. I’m still not going to go past page 1 or 2, but at least nearly all the images returned are slices of chocolate cake.

2. Change the image size. At the top left just above the results, there is a drop down menu allowing you to change the image size. This is particularly useful if you are looking for something that will cover your whole screen, like a background or a painting. When I wanted to search for Monet’s Water Lilies, I changed the image size to Large, which brought the results I wanted.

3. Change the content. Next to the image size menu, there is a content menu. You can change this to Photos, Faces, or News to refine your search.

4. Use Advanced Image Search. This is to the right of the search box. I particularly like being able to change the colour. If you search for black and white, it will often return clipart/ drawings. Greyscale is also nice if you are looking for old-fashioned photos.

5. Have a quick link to Google Images. You might want to include it on your links or Bookmarks bar, or set your search box to go to Google Images.

If you use Firefox, there’s an even easier option. You can set up  Firefox Quick Searches in your address bar. So if I want to search Google Images for chocolate cake, I type gi chocolate cake into the address bar and press enter, and the results come on my screen. I also have similar shortcut searches for YouTube, imdb, wikipedia etc. Have a look at this blog post if you’d like to try it.

Once you’ve got your picture, use the camera tool, copy and paste or drag it on to your flipchart page. And as always, checking copyright is a good idea.

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Searching the web – alternatives to Google

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 9, 2008

Do you remember the web before Google? When I did my first web search in 1997, AltaVista was my search engine of choice. I also remember  putting the same search term into different engines like AskJeeves and Yahoo!, and getting completely different results!

Nowdays I use Google for 95% of my everyday searching. However the following search engines are worth a look, primarily for exploring a new topic with a class and seeing results from encyclopedias, images, and video.


SearchMe displays your webpages or images as a flow of snapshots (similar to CoverFlow in iTunes). This looks great on an IWB and can be very handy if you are searching for a site that displays text and images in an uncluttered, attractive style so it is accessible for your students.

The other great thing about Searchme is that you can create collections of pages to send to collegues or students. Much more interesting than just sending a page of links! To try it, click on the following link to see the search engines in this articles displayed as a stack: Alternative search engines



Searching in Quintura produces a tag cloud of related terms. Hovering over a word produces a new tag cloud. Web results are on the left hand side. It’s an excellent way of exploring links in a topic.



Powerset is a Wikipedia search engine. Why do you need this, when Wikipedia has a search bar? Powerset has lots of additional features that are worth exploring if you use Wikipedia a lot. I particularly like the keywords results organised into brought, lead to and resulted in sections.



Keyboardr puts YouTube, Google Images, Google Webpages and Wikipedia results on the same page which makes it an great launching pad for an investigation. You can use your keyboard to navigate – but you don’t have to – your mouse and pen/ finger will work fine.goldrushkeyboardr1


Kosmix is similar to Keyboardr but provides much more information on the page. Additional search results include audiobooks, blogs, resources, shopping and Yahoo! answers.


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