Friday, April 23, 2010

Google's Wonder Wheel for keyword instruction

Have you seen Google's Wonder Wheel? I just learned about it on the ILI-L listserv, and it's a pretty fun feature. Similar to the concept map available in Credo Reference, the Wonder Wheel takes the keywords you enter in a Google search and displays them in a concept map with other relevant search terms/phrases. The Wonder Wheel is in the middle of the screen with results for the main search term to the right. If you click a search term that is linked on the wheel, the search terms on the right change to websites relevant to that search term.

When looking at results for a Google search, click Show Options from the top left. Then along the left side of the screen, scroll down and select Wonder Wheel to see your results in this view. Detailed instructions are available here.

This might be an interesting and engaging way to get students thinking about keywords in an info lit session. They will be more interested in anything coming from Google than what we come up with, but it gets across the idea that there are other ways to phrase a particular search idea. Although many of the initial "spokes" on the wheel are very similar to the first search, there are slight variations that ultimately bring up different results. This is a concept that I think our students struggle with, as they constantly put the same phrase over and over again into every search and wonder why they can't find anything useful!

Do you see any potential uses for this tool?

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