Showing posts with label college search. Show all posts
Showing posts with label college search. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Interactive Map-Based College Search

Campus Bird is a website designed to help students locate a college or graduate school that is right for them. Campus Bird provides a great set of search filters for helping students narrow their list of choices. Students can filter their searches by degree type, major field of study, location, campus setting, athletics, and special program offerings. On their own, the extensive list of search filters would make Campus Bird a good college search service, but Campus Bird takes it a step further by incorporating Google Earth.

Campus Bird uses the Google Earth browser plug-in to show students the location of the colleges in which they're interested. For some colleges, Campus Bird offers the opportunity to take a virtual tour of the campus within the Google Earth browser plug-in. Students can also use the Yelp search box located at the bottom of the map to search for restaurants, businesses, and wireless hotspots around campus.

Applications for Education
I've explored dozens college search websites over the years and Campus Bird is one of the best. If your high school's guidance department has a website, Campus Bird should be one of the links on it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

This Is What Bothers Me About Some Infographics

Warning: This started out as a short post and turned into a bit of a rant. This post is mostly intended as food for thought for edubloggers. 

Infographics are all over the web these days. Not a week passes without a new infographic making the rounds on blogs, on Twitter, Pinterest, or whatever social network is hot at the time. Have you wondered why there are so many infographics being produced? The answer is, they are generally great for SEO. Which leads me to the first thing that bothers me about some infographics.

My first problem with some infographics.
Many of the infographics that are circulating in the ed tech space are produced by websites with names like "Best Online Degrees." Why are those websites producing infographics? Because they rely on referral traffic a.k.a. affiliate fees to earn their money. Now, I'm all for websites and blogs making money (as I've stated before, the ads on this blog help me buy groceries), but go about it ethically. This is the problem I have with an infographic titled The Digital Classroom (Google it if you like, I'm not linking to it) that is making the rounds today. The Digital Classroom was produced by one of these "Best Online Universities" outfits.

Here's the ethics problem I have with these outfits. They only recommend programs that they can benefit from making referrals to. I tried out two of these "Best Online Universities" search/ recommendation sites today. In the first case I was only referred to one school despite the many variables that I tried. In the second case I was referred to the same three universities regardless of the search variables that I entered. I've included the screen shots of the process from my first trial.

Step One: Visit the site and select your search criteria. 

Step Two: View your search results. Notice that only one result is served. Enter your all of your contact data then get taken to step three. 

Step Three: Where you would expect to see something like, "thank you for providing all of your contact data so that we can call and email you twice a week for the next decade" you instead get taken to another search page that repeats the process you just completed.

I won't get into the problems these online degree search/recommendation sites pose to potential students because Dan Meyer explained it much better than I can. In fact, Dan Meyer's post Stop Linking to Top 100 Blog Lists is what got me thinking about the SEO tactics of online degree search sites. I'll let you consider points Dan raises on your own. 

My concern with the online degree search/recommendation sites that I've looked at, including the one that produced The Digital Classroom infographic that is popular today, is that they don't disclose their affiliations. Think about it this way, how would parents react if they found out that a high school guidance department was making college recommendations to students based on the fact that they would receive money for every student that enrolled at those colleges? Would you trust that guidance department? I wouldn't. Incidentally, this is why I disclose my affiliations when writing about or Tweeting about one of my advertiser's services or products.

My second problem with some infographics.
The other problem I have with some infographics is the quality, or lack thereof, of the information contained within them. I've previously written about this in my post Deconstructing Infographics

So should I link to, post, or use infographics?
There isn't a clear-cut answer to that question. I evaluate each infographic individually before I decide whether or not to share it on Free Technology for Teachers. I have posted plenty of infographics in the past and will continue to do so when they are produced by companies whose business practices don't raise red flags for me. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Campus Bird - Search for Colleges and Take Virtual Tours

Campus Bird is a free site designed to help students locate a college that fits their needs and wants. The site offers all of the usual selection criterion like major, location, campus size that you find on most college search sites. The differentiating aspect of Campus Bird is that they have embedded a Google Maps view of all of the colleges in their index. Once you have selected your search criteria you can quickly view the location of each college and explore the surrounding area. In some cases you will be taken to a virtual tour of a college's campus. Campus Bird says that it is working on adding more virtual tours to their database.

Applications for Education
This is the time of year when high school students are getting serious about their searches for the "perfect" college for them. Campus Bird could be another search tool to pass along to students and perhaps link to your school's guidance department website.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Do You Google Yourself? Do Your Students?

This week every student at my school was issued a netbook. This is a great thing for my students and for me. Today, in my last class of the day one of my students blurted out, "hey did you know you're on Google?" I responded, "yes, if you Google me, my blog is the first thing you'll find." This got me wondering how many teachers, particularly young and fresh out of college teachers, know what happens when students or their parents Google his or her name. Do you know? You should.

Applications for Education
Call it vanity searching if you wish, but it is important to know what happens when someone Googles your name. This is true not only for teachers, but for anyone applying for a job or applying to college. This year my weekly advisory group is made up of juniors (11th grade students) who will be researching and applying to colleges in the spring and or following fall. One of the things that I plan to have all of them do is Google themselves. The students that have common names I'll have add a geographic location and other criteria to their searches to help narrow their results. We'll then talk about what to do if something less than flattering appears in their search results. Web is great for sharing, but we must teach our students how to share responsibly.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
A Thin Line - Digital Safety Education for Teens
Learn Internet Safety with Garfield
Google Family Safety Center - A Resource for Parents

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Educaedu - A Search Engine for Degree Programs

Picking a college can be a difficult process for students entering college for the first time as well as for students returning to school to further their educations. Educaedu aims to help students with that process. Educaedu is essentially a search engine for degree programs. To use Educaedu select the geographic area in which you would like to study. Then select the type of program you are searching for. Educaedu will then generate a list of schools offering your desired degree program. You can refine your search to find certificate programs, associate degrees, bachelor degrees, and masters degrees.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Unigo - College Reviews and Advice from Students
College Cruch - Resources for College and Career Planning
My College Calendar Helps Students Organize College Applications