New Search Engine Delivers Content Matched to Student Ability
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New Search Engine Delivers Content Matched to Student Ability

Londan: An Internet search engine developed specifically for schools by two University of Alabama in Huntsville professors is being tested as a way to increase reading abilities in challenged students and help motivate intellectual development in gifted students while saving schools money on textbooks.

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{/googleAds} Complexity Engine has been awarded a $10,000 development grant from the UAH Charger Innovation Fund and is in the final round of vying for an Alabama Launchpad grant. Launchpad is a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama to promote reward and increase the pipeline of high-growth innovative ventures that have the potential to grow and thrive in the state.

'We just have a host of features we want to roll out with Complexity Engine and that’s why winning the Launchpad competition is essential' says developer Dr. Philip Kovacs with Dr. Ryan Weber collaborates to produce the necessary software.

Complexity Engine uses a sophisticated algorithm to search websites for content and delivers free customized and age-appropriate reading materials to a user's computer. It promises to give teachers parents and students an efficient affordable way to promote reading.

Teachers and administrators can set parameters for the search results and the reading experience can be either student self-directed or guided by the teacher.

'What we’re developing is a way to get through the nonsense and junk online and get to the learning material' says Dr. Philip Kovacs. Complexity Engine is currently in testing with 500 gifted fifth and sixth grade students at a mid-sized regional school system.

'The reason the school system wanted to use it is because they have a hard time finding challenging material for their gifted students' Dr. Kovacs says. 'The second issue with this group of students is that if you go and search the web for ‘submarine' you will get thousands of results that are all over the place compared to what you want to find. With our search engine, you will get around 150 results that are more closely about what you were searching for'.

Teachers and administrators get feedback from the program about a student’s reading material. The reading comprehension level of each file retrieved is scored. “That score is composed using a variety of reliable measures of reading score,” Dr. Weber says. Over time, the teacher can assess a student’s reading progress from that information.

The study found that a in a control group of students reading comprehension increased 11 percent, but in the experimental group, it zoomed 59 percent.

'We know that reading is fundamental to the educational development of students because lots of studies have shown that to be true' Its developers see Complexity Engine as a replacement for textbooks that offers a less regimented, more varied and interest-driven educational model to students.

The information a student gets is no longer generic, like it is from a textbook The individual students can search for reading material that matches their interests, so they can be more self-motivated readers.”

Motivation is a major reason students drop out of high school Many students who leave school don’t do it because they can’t do the work. they do it because they are not challenged by it and they are not motivated to learn. They get bored. during the earlier study, researchers found that behavioral problems dropped and parents who had never attended parent-teacher conferences began attending to compliment the teachers.

 

Last modified onSunday, 16 March 2014 19:57
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