Keys-by-TEARN mobile platform
Diary of a passionate, tech Dad
from TEARN i.e. teach to learn


May 29, 2010

tEarn Product Research

The web offers a wealth of research information. Our staff collates knowledge from dozens of credible sources to compile each product line. Here is an overview of our process.

Aside: guess the search term for these images from Bing!

Images

We gain assistance from search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, Flickr, and Picasa for results by term.
  • The images we show depend on the quality of service from each provider.
  • Our service indirectly sources information from millions of websites.
  • We provide attribution for each source (ie via double-click on images).
  • If a source chooses not to participate, please check with the search companies on the steps to remove images from search results. By so doing, the images would be automatically replaced by the next best choice as determined by the search robots.
  • All search services often show an image that states an image is not available. This is a notification that an image is in the process of being removed, and not a flaw in the system. In time, these notices are replaced by other relevant images.
Our breadth of research has shown that the leading search engines show incredible intelligence in selecting images for any search term. In general, the search engines perform the best with Proper nouns, nouns, adjectives, and verbs - in that order.

With many words, there is always room for improvement. Some terms produce silly and irrelevant photos, which is understandable given the breadth of the search challenge.

We encourage the researchers at these companies to continue improving the Artificial Intelligence engines that drive the search results.

Terms and Definitions

We generally start with lists from dozens of credible sources for each subject - carefully selecting those that are public or out-of-copyright. For example, we use dict.org that is a collection of out-of-copyright dictionaries and public sources like NASA who have granted fair use.
  • We categorize and organize terms by topic, organizing into chapters, lessons, and sub-lessons.
  • For key or highlighted lessons, we research the topic to produce the most comprehensive glossary possible. In every case, we have found numerous omissions and holes, even among top college textbooks and public encyclopedias like wikipedia.org. For example, for the upcoming SAT hot-words list, we have compiled what we believe is the best list of 1,100 words that have appeared on past SAT exams.
  • We then remove duplicates, merge definitions for the best clarity, and eliminate terms that plump and confuse without providing social-redeeming value.
  • We try to maintain our consistency in defining words, staying with the singular form.
  • Definitions can be simplified since words are defined within the context of chapters and lessons. We estimate that this reduces 50% of the clutter in reading about a term.
  • We depend on the images to define multiple uses of a word and the many subtle meanings of each term. The terms are only defined relative to the lesson context.
  • We add parts that distinguish similar terms within a context that often confuse. For example, meiosis and mitosis has been a classic learning challenge. Differentiating compounds from molecules helps learners overcome the basics of chemistry.
  • Whenever possible, we choose to simplify - trying to avoid the redundancy of complex terms that slows comprehension.
Live Products

Unlike printed products, each product is live.

No knowledge of a subject can ever be perfect. As we gain feedback from users and friends, we update to improve each product. Those updates are automatically available to all users.

If we can help one child per village overcome the fears of learning and gain the love for knowledge, we have done our job.

Join us.

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