Summly is a free app which provides summaries of news stories based on your source selections and topic selections…. big deal, lots of apps do this, but I think this one is special… read on!
Each news topic (technology, sports, etc.) is displayed on your menu and with a tap you can begin scanning the 400 character summaries for the topic(s) of interest. If you want to read more, you can. One tap on a summary brings up a slightly longer summary and also a link to the entire source article. An excellent overview is shared in the video below which features the 17 year old founder, inventor and publisher of this app:
Summly uses a proprietary algorithm to create the summaries, and I found them to be quite accurate and meaningful. Here is a sample… the first is the short summary and then the longer summary and finally the source article.
Summly provides a nice selection of topics and sources, but it also allows you to tweak these, ignoring some topics and sources and also adding your own.You can edit the list of topics and sources using the easy interface built into Summly.
At any point you can touch and hold the screen and have the option to save the summary for later, send the summary via email or post to Twitter or Facebook. Nifty tools.
Well, the obvious use is to try to stay more current on news in education, your local area, your area of study, and your favorite sports teams. You could use this to provide short news blurbs in a daily message or a school news program too. BUT, what about using this app as a way to help your students learn to summarize? Provide your students with the link to an article, then ask them to create a 400 character (or less) summary of the article. Then project or share the Summly version and discuss the differences. Seems like this could be a great way to both teach summarizing AND to teach media literacy as well. I bet you have other ideas, be sure to share!
Free (when posted on 11/30/2012)
iOS app Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.