instaGrok

Common Sense Media says

Interactive mind maps aid research and deep comprehension.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

It's very safe; if kids have an account through their classroom, their information is password-protected and accessible only by a teacher. Key facts do link to outside websites, but instaGrok has an algorithm that rejects any sites with bad language or inappropriate content.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that instaGrok is a website that kids can use to create interactive information maps, called "groks," on any subject. Kids will have fun looking up silly stuff. For example, a search for Pokemon brought up a highly detailed grok. They'll also find value in using the site to get valid information that's presented in a different way. Its profanity filter is a work in progress -- it has a hard time confirming appropriate video content. Still, the site does a good job of eliminating inappropriate links or sources from a search. Another bonus is the fact that you can run all your chosen sources through EasyBib, a site that verifies research sources.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • text analysis
  • using supporting evidence

Math

  • grouping

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • investigation
  • thinking critically

Creativity

  • combining knowledge

Self-Direction

  • working efficiently
  • academic development

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Design is clean, and kids will have lots of fun making groks of their hobbies and interests.

Learning Approach

Kids will see content presented in a nonlinear way; what they do with their findings is up to them. They have a lot of freedom to tinker with groks, adding notes and sharing with friends through social media.

Support

There's a four-minute demo video (which isn't very kid-friendly) but no written help. InstaGrok does have an active Twitter feed and a Facebook page.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • text analysis
  • using supporting evidence

Math

  • grouping

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • investigation
  • thinking critically

Creativity

  • combining knowledge

Self-Direction

  • working efficiently
  • academic development

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn research skills as well as detailed information about the subject of their choice. They'll learn how to process information in a nonlinear way and will figure out how to organize the information that pops up in each grok. As kids view each connection, they'll decide how important it is to their research; do they need details on the ingredients of pizza crust, or do they need a history of pizza? Which should be closer to the main node? InstaGrok lets kids do lots of research without leaving the site, providing a safe and immersive experience.

This Learning Rating review was written by Polly Conway

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

INSTAGROK is a website that describes itself as a \"search engine for learners.\" Type any term into the search bar, and an interactive map, called a grok, appears. Each grok is made up of many bubbles, which branch off from the original search item. If you search for \"pizza,\" the map's bubbles will contain things like \"crust,\" \"sauce,\" and \"oven.\" If you click on one of those words, a text box explaining those specific subjects will appear. Hit \"More\" on the left-hand side of the screen for Key Facts, and adjust the sliding Difficulty bar to customize the grok's complexity for particular age groups or educational levels. Tab over to the Journal section and take notes, pin items, or add photos.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

To grok (a made-up word from the sci-fi classic Stranger in a Strange Land) now means to understand thoroughly and intuitively. InstaGrok presents information as an interactive visual interface that could work well for kids who have difficulty comprehending linear progressions. It looks fine, but its design isn't quite as clean as some of its competitors'. It's slightly tricky to figure out at first, and help isn't easily accessible. Once kids get the hang of it, however, they should enjoy creating a customized grok for a class project or even one on a favorite subject just for fun. The Difficulty bar sets instaGrok apart from the many other visual mind-mapping sites. That and its ability to eliminate links with profanity make it extra kid-friendly.

Families can talk about...

  • Ask your kid what it means to truly understand something. What's the difference between memorizing facts and understanding a concept from the inside out? 

  • Create your own nonvirtual grok with your kids. Name a subject and ask them to come up with a list of topics that branch off it. 

Website details

Genre:Educational
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of instaGrok was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byKareemJello123 April 8, 2015
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Instagrok

Instagrok is hard to use. It doesn't make sense. Why not just frickn' use Google. I have found many faults and I suggest all teachers to not let their students use it.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Adult Written bytyrone212121 April 8, 2015
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Horrible :(

I HATE THIS WEBSITE!!!! IT IS GARBAGE! IT IS THE MOST IRRELEVENT AND ANNOYING WEBSITE EVER!
What other families should know
Too much violence

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