Hunch is the brand new site created by the co-founder of Flickr that I think could be beneficial to teachers, English Language Learners, and all students.
It’s not quite open to the public yet (it just opened to the public on June 15th), but I received an invitation with a couple of days of signing-up. I’m sure they received thousands of requests over the weekend in response to the enormous amount of coverage in the major tech blogs over the past few days, so they’re clearly ramping things up. I suspect anybody who registers will get an invite quickly.
Here are links to several substantial posts about it from the tech blogs, so I won’t go into great detail about Hunch here — TechCrunch, Mashable, .and Read Write Web.
Basically, though, it’s a recommendation engine — You choose a question that you’d like the answer to and you’re then led through a simple and engaging process of ten questions or less to help you reach a decision (and they seem accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners). Questions raise from the serious (What kind of blog should I read?) to the not-so-serious (What kind of Star Wars character am I?). After you received the responses, you can leave both positive and negative reactions.
In addition, users can pretty simply create their own question and “build a topic” that others can use to help with their own decision-making. I would very characterize it as creating something very roughly analogous to a “choose your own adventure” style story (also called an “action maze”).
I think Hunch can be useful for teachers professionally as a good site to find recommendations, which is why I’m adding it to The Best Places To Get Blog, Website, , Book, Movie, & Music Recommendations.
Once it develops a larger database of questions, it probably would also be a candidate for The Best Sites For Learning Which Consumers Electronics To Buy list.
I wouldn’t place it on any of “The Best…” lists for writing or reading for English Language Learners, but it could be an opportunity for students to read some engaging material and to write for an authentic audience.