Lately I have seen new kinds of search engines popping up. Not searching for general information like Google but for example things to buy from several online stores, aggregating them in one UI.
The latest being recently funded LearnBIG, which is a search engine for various kinds of educational content. Very interesting and important stuff. There is so much content out there that it’s always nice to get some filtering, curating, and recommendations.
LearnBIG crawls the web and also hooks to major app stores to retrieve all sorts of content to assist learning. What’s nice that in addition to pure keyword search you can apply various filters. The filters are:
- Subjects (maths, science, social subjects, arts, etc.)
- Grades (from kindergarten all the way through K-12 to post-secondary)
- Formats (audio, text, game, MOOC, etc.)
- Platform (Android, iOS, Browser, Console, etc.)
- Free or paid
- Standards-aligned or not
Under these filters you have more specific subcategories. It is also possible to apply several filters simultaneously. As a result you have powerful tools for restricting your search to exactly what you want. At least in theory.
Based on couple of tests I did the search seems to return the same results even though some filters differ. For 6th grade and 3rd grade maths you get the same results, at least some of them. Maybe this is a cold start problem that will go away once there is more material online and appropriately described/tagged.
The bigger threat I see to a specialized company like LearnBIG is what I started this blog with, namely Google. I was cheating a bit when I wrote that Google is for searching general information. Maybe it was like that but not anymore.
Google finds pictures, addresses, businesses, events, emails, videos, academic papers, and whatnot. I’d be surprised if they don’t add educational resource search at some point. And when they do, LearnBIG and the like better hope they don’t do it in house but via acquisition(s).