Homework Helper – a new way of using a search engine


generalknowledge James, a colleague of mine, has just told me about the beta release of Homework Helper he’s been working on the project team of. It’s a web site which is designed to help 12-16 year old students find the help they need for assignments and homework on the major subjects in England (It works for Wales & Scotland too, but is is tagged to Key Stages and English subjects currently)


James said:



Homework Helper is made up of lots of specialist search engines that search the internet by homework topic. We only get results from the best sites for each subject, so you get better answers quicker. Just choose your year, subject, and topic from the drop down menu, enter a search term and we will find the answers and websites that will help answer your homework questions.

It’s still a beta which means it’s not quite perfect yet, but we would like you to help us test it over the summer ready for you after your summer break. There are even some cool prizes for great feedback and suggestions.


There are prizes of MSN Music Vouchers for submitting new sites to search, or just for providing feedback. (Just thought I’d mention that if you wanted to give your kids something to do during the dismal downpours this weekend!)


My children haven’t left primary school yet, but my eldest is due to leave this year, and so I’ll be expecting the level of expertise needed to be a homework-helper to jump up a bit. So this is just in time for me!

Comments (8)

  1. Janson says:

    Hi

    Any chance of a link to the homework helper?

    Thanks

    Janson

  2. Bob Harding says:

    Is there a url for this?  I can’t seem to find it through the normal searches (well to be honest I lost enthusiasm once the first 10 pages showed nothing that looked right)

  3. Rayfl says:

    What an idiot I am…fancy leaving out the URL! Anyway, now added in. Sorry Bob/Janson

    Ray

  4. Bob says:

    Thanks Ray … hey .. good to know that people are reading your blog and getting feedback so quick can’t be bad.

    Keep up the good work …

  5. Alan Richards says:

    Have sent the link to all our teachers and students so they can try it.

    All positive feedback so far

  6. Dan says:

    nice one but have you tried the image search attached to that site?

    Trey searching for ********* and be amazed at the wonderous images, and also the hardcore pornography!

    Nice one MSDN!

     (Edited temporarily by Ray until the issue is fixed. The problem was started by a mis-spelling in the search term, which led to inappropriate results – as I understand it, a pretty common technique used by image-spammers to get their images seen. The HomeworkHelper team are having a look at this currently)

  7. Rayfl says:

    Hi Dan, I’ve just asked our colleagues at Windows Live to take a look and comment. I know that what they have released is a Beta, and the whole point of beta’s is to find problems and fix them. Hopefully there will be a fix soon…

  8. Mo Kader, Homework Helper development Team says:

    Live Search uses a filter system to filter results; this is automatically set to “moderate”.

    The user can choose how they want to filter the results, so to avoid any sexually explicit results they will have to set the filter to “strict”.  To help this we have added a statement on the site that recommends the user to set their Safesearch settings to “Strict”

    There is, however, no guarantee that all sexually explicit content will be excluded, as no system of this type can be 100% accurate.

    Thanks for pointing out this problem. This is the purpose of beta, to help solve any problems to improve the site.