Technology + Online + Industry + Partnerships

What Do 'Games,' 'George Washington,' and 'Sharks' Have in Common?

They can all be found on new rankings of the most frequentlysearched keywords by K-12 students.

In BriefEVERY SCHOOL DAY, MILLIONS OF K-12students throughout the US sit at computers andenter keywords into internet search engines-- but what, exactly, are they searching for? Whileeducators may hope that their studentsare using search engines to stay ontrack with schoolwork, they can't keeptabs on every word or phrase that'ssearched. But thanks to a new indexlaunched last spring by Thinkronize, they will getsome answers.

For its Top 15 In-School Search Index, Thinkronize is compiling data from all of the K-12 student searches that occur on its netTrekker d.i. search engine. Currently, more than 20,000 schools and 11 million students across all 50 states use netTrekker. Each quarter, an index of the most active student search terms will be released here.

Top Keyword Searches in K-12 Schools

(February-April, 2008)

  1. games
  2. dogs
  3. animals
  4. Civil War
  5. George Washington
  6. Holocaust
  7. Abraham Lincoln
  8. multiplication
  9. math games
  10. weather
  11. frogs
  12. fractions
  13. planets
  14. sharks
  15. plants

Source: netTrekker d.i. search data, compiled by Thinkronize

The quarterly index serves as an avenue for educators to gain insight into what their students are learning about, care about, and want to know more about-- important information coming at a time when internet filters have become an increasing presence on school computers in response to growing concerns about students' access to pornography, violent images, and other potentially harmful web content. In the spring quarter (February to April) index this year, "games" was found to be the most-searched keyword on netTrekker, proving that kids will be kids, but also indicating why incorporating gaming into education is a wise move. Among the Top 15 mostsearched terms were "animals," "Civil War," and "fractions."

"Search engines like Google and Yahoo! pull together lists of the most popular keyword queries, underscoring our nation's interests and fixations and showcasing trends and patterns," said Thinkronize CEO Randy Wilhelm upon the release of the rankings. "Our report offers a different view-- a real-time, schoolbased mirror of what our children are searching for-- both for academic purposes and out of genuine curiosity."


In BriefIT'S TIME TO REGISTERfor the Innovative LearningConference 2008 (ILC), a new event devotedto advancing K-12 studentachievement through innovativeeducation strategies. Produced inpartnership with educationtechnology conference leadersCUE (Computer-Using Educators) and FETC (FloridaEducational Technology Conference), ILC will take placeOct. 14-16 in San Jose, CA.

The three-day conference will include hands-on workshops, concurrent sessions, meetings, and exhibitions, all promoting innovative solutions to 21stcentury challenges, and practical tech tools and skills for the K-12 community.

Featured at the event will be keynote speaker Danny Forster, host of Build it Bigger, a Discovery Channel documentary series that features innovative engineering projects. Throughout the conference, participants will hear from a number of ed tech industry experts and forward thinkers.

K-12 superintendents, site and district administrators, technology directors, curriculum designers, media specialists, district CTOs, and other interested K-12 professionals can register for the conference through the ILC website.

:: Industry News

BROOKES AND GET INTEGRATEPRODUCTS. Brookes Publishing, knownfor its line of early childhood booksand assessment and intervention tools,has partnered with Global EducationTechnologies (GET),a developer of innovative products foreducators of special needs students.With the integration of Brookes'AEPSi (Assessment, Evaluation, andProgramming System) data managementsystems and GET's signature casemanagement solution, Excent, thecompanies intend to provide educatorswith easy access to assessments anddata essential to identifying andaddressing early childhood learningand developmental issues.

INFOCOMM MERGES WITH NSCA EXPO. InfoComm International will host InfoComm 08 June 14 in Las Vegas. The annual audiovisual trade show showcases cutting-edge technologies in display and projection, lighting and staging, digital signage, collaborative conferencing, networking, digital content creation, and more. This year, InfoComm has teamed up with the National Systems Contractors Association to merge the trade show with the NSCA Systems Integration Expo. InfoComm will also be cohabitating with NXTcomm08, a conference catering to the communications industry.

CLASSLINK AND CLASSMATE FORM ALLIANCE. ClassLink, whose suite of platform management products provides school districts with 24/7 access to software and files from any computer at any location, is now offering ClassMate software for both student administration and curriculum management. The two products, when used in tandem, will result in a comprehensive student information system solution for school districts. For more information on the new software, visit here.

SPECTRUM K12 AND THINKRONIZE JOIN FORCES. The first step in an agreement to share complementary products and services, Spectrum K12 School Solutions has authorized Thinkronize, developer of the NetTrekker d.i. search engine, to sell its Encore Clarity special-education data management solution and its accompanying professional development offerings. The companies view the partnership as an opportunity to better serve special needs students and their parents, teachers, and administrators.

WEIDENHAMMER ACQUIRES EDUTEAM. Weidenhammer, a provider of K-12 IT solutions, has acquired EduTeam, a specialist in student information system implementation and training. As a result of the deal, K-12 customers of both companies will be able to benefit from a wider range of resources and services.

NEC DISPLAY OFFERS PURCHASE REWARDS. NEC Display Solutions, a provider of LCD and plasma displays and projectors, recently announced that schools registered with its Star Student program will receive money-back rewards on purchases of NEC display products. Participating schools that buy items from any of the eligible categories, such as projectors and large-format displays, will be mailed debit cards containing $5 to $50 to spend as they wish. The debit card will be reloaded with each new qualifying purchase. Interested schools can register for the program here.

:: People

BERGER JOINS MATH/SCIENCECOMMISSION. Wireless Generation CEOLarry Berger has joined the Commissionon Mathematics and ScienceEducation, an organization formed bythe Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Institute forAdvanced Study. Bergeris working with other commissionmembers to help improve K-14 science,math, and technology education.

ISTE HONORS OUTSTANDING EDUCATORS. The International Society for Technology in Education has named Carol Anne McGuire, vision specialist with Orange Unified School District (CA), and Thea Jones, office of instructional technology supervisor for Baltimore County Public Schools, respective recipients of its 2008 Outstanding Teacher and Outstanding Leader awards. The two awards recognize educators who have demonstrably improved education through the use of technology. The women will be honored during this year's National Educational Computing Conference, to be held June 29-July 2 in San Antonio, TX.

WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION APPOINTS BOARD TREASURER. The Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees has appointed Stuart West to the position of board treasurer. West will join the foundation's efforts to create a broad fundraising and development strategy, as well as work on the streamlining of its administrative and accounting processes.

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2008 issue of THE Journal.