Thursday, November 13, 2008

Google, Not Just A Search Engine!

The New York Times reported Google's release of a new website designed to detect regional outbreaks of the flu a week to 10 days before they are reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The website is called Google Flu Trends. The site uses aggregate Google search data to estimate flu activity in each state. They believe they can estimate flu activity up to two weeks faster than goverment flu survellance systems. This is not available for Canada as of yet.

The graph below has shows past flu outbreaks from last year. Flu Trends:
"Each week, millions of users around the world search for online health information. As you might expect, there are more flu-related searches during flu season, more allergy-related searches during allergy season, and more sunburn-related searches during the summer. You can explore all of these phenomena using Google Trends. But can search query trends provide an accurate, reliable model of real-world phenomena?"

I am sure this will open up a whole new science where Google uses user searches as suggested above but to what end and what accuracy?

This site can be used in a number of grade levels in a numeracy or literacy exercise to analyze trends and data. If you can come up with some specific practical uses please share with others and comment here! Don't forget to do your own trend searches at Google Trends!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Stay Current with Newseum!

Today I will be talking about a neat resource for a World Issues topic, literacy exercise, or even just a current events discussion.

The big news last night was the Election of a new U.S. president Barack Obama. A neat way to look at the effect of this event or any other current event for that matter is a site called Newseum. Newseum displays daily newspaper front pages from around the world in their original, unedited form. The papers can be sorted according to region, country and more. Take a look at todays Newseum .

There is an archive of front pages from past events but the events are major American and world issues. For example I could not locate the Canadian Election on October 12th, 2008.

The front pages are not edited or altered so consider your audience when sharing this site.
Each front page will give you a link to the source paper. You can usually find additional information on a topic without logging in.

Don't forget the WINDSOR STAR resource located in the board's student portal. Students and teachers have access to 10 Canadian Regional papers. Click Here to visit the student portal.


This site came to my attention from Rodd Lucier (E-Learning RELC) who picked it up from Will Richardson.

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