instaGrok

Website review by
Polly Conway, Common Sense Media
instaGrok Website Poster Image
Interactive mind maps aid research and deep comprehension.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages
Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKareemJello123 April 8, 2015

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... Continue reading
Adult Written bytyrone212121 April 8, 2015

Horrible :(

I HATE THIS WEBSITE!!!! IT IS GARBAGE! IT IS THE MOST IRRELEVENT AND ANNOYING WEBSITE EVER!
Teen, 16 years old Written bybooza1928 May 10, 2017

unusable

I could not access a single 'instagrok' on any topic, it would simply just say "error:time out"

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love making information visible

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