Bing – Visual Search, teaching questioning skills


Don’t confuse visual search with image search, visual search is about finding information using images rather than a keyword. Bing has number of visual dataimage collections, some of which are ideal for creating learning opportunities for pupils, especially in developing questioning and analytical skills.

To use Visual search, go to www.bing.com and click Visual Search on the menu on the left-hand side. You will be presented with a range of data sets. Some maybe more useful than others, but finding data for pupils to interrogate can be difficult, so all are potentially useful in the classroom. If you change the location setting and use the United States Bing page, you get some US centric data sets and some more unusual ones. For example, Handbags, I didn’t realise there were so many to choose from, with the most expensive being over $2000! 

Once you have selected a data set, the left hand side gives you a list of main categories to sort the data, then a list of categories to narrow those groups even further. Combining these categories gives pupils the opportunity to ask and develop some very interesting questions.

 imageSo as an example , using the data set of UK Premier Football league players, the question ‘Who is the tallest Goalkeeper to win the most international caps?’. The answer is, of course, ‘Maik Taylor, who plays for Birmingham City’ , click the image and you get a list of websites that relate directly to it.

Now, admittedly knowing who is the tallest most capped Goalkeeper or the cost of the most expensive handbag, is perhaps not the knowledge we feel our pupils need to acquire. But, the focus here is not knowledge acquisition, but the developing questioning skills.

Visual search is a great environment in which to allow pupils to create imaginative questions, that they genuinely do not know the answer to. Such activity will influence how pupils think about their questions and keywords in their everyday search activities, using more traditional search engines.

Here are two quick ideas around Visual search :-

-Use Visual Search as an alternative or support to creating and interrogating database lessons plans and schemes of work.

-Get your pupils to create a ‘Who wants to be a millionare?’ type game, with them devising the questions.

Have a look at Bing Visual search and let us know if you have an great ways of using it in the classroom. Also, why not share with us some of the most imaginative questions it has prompted you to ask.

Here is my favourite, ‘In the periodic table, which element found in the human body is used in anti-dandruff shampoo?’

You can use Bing Visual search to find the answer.

Comments (2)

  1. Steve Beard says:

    Visual Search doesn't appear to work on all browsers, I have just had no joy with Safari and Chrome 🙁  Apart from that it looks very good in Firefox 🙂

    In answer to your periodic table question 'Zinc'.

    This seems a cut down version of Pivot that Ray demoed yesterday.

  2. Steve Beard says:

    Amended to previous comment, it does now appear to be working in Chrome, I was obviously too inpatient.

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