It's Elementary, My Dear Watson™

Earlier today, Intellext™ and AOL announced the launch of the AOL@SCHOOL desktop sidebar, designed to help K-12 elementary school students with their homework, but without having to search the open Web for the answers. Instead, this smart application proactively returns relevant content from hand selected educational resources related to the topic the student is working on - whether it be online, in a word processing or other desktop application. Students can also actively use the sidebar for deeper research into their homework topic.

The desktop sidebar was created using Intellext's next-generation Watson™ contextual search technology in conjunction with AOL@SCHOOL's search engine. Students can have the sidebar installed for free at school or home, and the tool can interpret the topic the student is working on and automatically find safe, age-appropriate and relevant search results from AOL@SCHOOL's collection of the best K-12 education content on the Web.

In a conversation with Dr. Jay Budzik, co-creator of Watson™, he noted the partnership has been a terrific opportunity to private label the contextually relevant search technology. By using a content publisher of high-quality educational resources such as AOL@SCHOOL, they have created an engaging learning environment while ensuring safe search for kids, presenting results without commercialization.

“This software will transform the way that students do their homework,” added Mark Stevens, AOL's Education Director and General Manager, added “At AOL@SCHOOL, we are dedicated to making learning fun and engaging while keeping kids safe as they surf the Web.”

While librarians may argue that students need the process of research to learn, today's educators are growing increasingly frustrated that traditional online search tools are not able to return the most relevant or safest results, and see this tool as a more efficient research tool for students. Since the tool proactively returns matching topics as the students get deeper into their work, they are exposed to related concepts they may not have discovered by researching on their own. The student then can dig deeper into the new materials and learn more actively. Product research showed the relevant content returned in the sidebar gets used in a different manner by students, and more frequently, added Budzik.

You can learn more about the tool and download the AOL@SCHOOL sidebar here.

About the author

Elisabeth Osmeloski has been in the search engine marketing industry since 1999, with agency experience as an SEO consultant and web copywriter for a variety of clients, ranging from small businesses to large corporations, as well as working in-house for a travel search industry startup. Elisabeth is also a regular speaker and a moderator at the Search Engine Strategies conferences.

Elisabeth recently launched a new blog and consulting agency, Adventures in Search, specializing in editorial services including content strategy, SEO copywriting, community development and management, social media marketing, online PR and customized link building. Elisabeth's areas of expertise include adventure travel services, destination and tourism marketing, outdoor recreation and action sports, as well as luxury- and lifestyle-focused brands.

She holds a B.A. in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She also spent several years as the Skiing Editor for About.com, and still enjoys writing as an active travel journalist whenever possible. In addition to freelance travel writing assignments, Elisabeth has also created Downhill Divas, a social network for women interested in skiing, snowboarding, freeride mountain biking and living a healthy, active lifestyle.