AOL Wants To Be Your StudyBuddy
Under the shadow of the AOL data leak, you may have missed something decent from the controversial company. This week, AOL launched StudyBuddy.com, a search engine created to help kids with their homework.
Intended for grades K through 12 and available to all Internet users, StudyBuddy offers references and educator-screened Web sites, customizable by grade level.
The company says the search engine anticipates the information needs of students and breaks results down into grade-appropriate groups: kindergarten to second grade; third to fifth grade, sixth to eighth grade; and ninth to twelfth grade.
StudyBuddy is powered by AOL technology partner blinkx, using a technology that allows students to sort results by media type to best meet assignment source requirements.
The site offers access to over a million pieces of trusted content, including educator-approved Web sites, books, journals, articles, newspapers, encyclopedias, multimedia videos, audio clips, and maps.
Searchable sources include World Book Encyclopedia, The Columbia Encyclopedia, National Wildlife Federation, TIMEforkids.com, The Princeton Review, Night Sky, Sky & Telescope, blinkx, the CIA World
Fact Book, and resources from Thomson Gale.
Students can make use of a Google Notebook-like feature called "Backpacks," or online folders, that lets them save searches and content, and share them with others. Parents can mark search returns to appear in their children's Backpacks and monitor their contents.
Over the next few months, AOL will make the service accessible to teachers wishing to add StudyBuddy.com to their Web sites, and to create their own virtual Backpacks that they can fill with links to articles or videos that they want to share with their students. AOL says this can displace "a teacher shelf" in the library, by offering multimedia resources online.
"For students, the number one request was to reduce the amount of returns a search engine provides, so we've implemented search technology that returns content that is both credible and relevant to their classroom assignments," said June Herold, Vice President & General Manager of AOL Education and Consumer Services.
Herold said StudyBuddy also features free brainteaser games and interactive resources.
The free service is a window to AOL's $5 per month educational offerings through AOL Learning Services, which offers additional assistance tutorials in specific areas like reading, math, writing, social studies, science, art, and algebra.
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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.
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