Perplexity: A Great AI Search Engine for Teachers and Students

In today’s post, I am introducing you to Perplexity, one of the best AI search engines and writing assistants out there. I have been using it for some time now and I remarked firsthand the huge educational potential it has for both teachers and students.


Perplexity

In fact, Perplexity is not just an AI search engine; it’s a comprehensive knowledge companion tailored to the dynamic needs of the educational sphere. From its ability to understand and respond to queries in natural language to its sophisticated Copilot feature for in-depth exploration, Perplexity is designed to enrich and enhance the educational journey.

But here’s the real game-changer: Perplexity doesn’t just provide answers; it offers sources. This is a critical aspect for us in education, where the credibility and origin of information are as important as the information itself. Whether it’s summarizing complex articles, diving deep into academic research, or generating creative content, Perplexity ensures that every piece of information is backed by sources. This not only aids in fostering a culture of critical thinking and source-based learning but also empowers teachers and students to explore topics with confidence and clarity.

Join me as we delve into the myriad features of Perplexity and discover how it’s reshaping the landscape of educational technology, one query at a time.

Related: Best AI Chatbots for Education

What can you use Perplexity for?

Perplexity can be used for various purposes, including answering questions, summarizing articles and web pages, and exploring topics in depth.

How Does Perplexity work?

Perplexity operates by allowing you to pose questions in a conversational, everyday manner. It aims to grasp the underlying intent of your queries and responds in a manner that aligns with your expectations. In order to ensure the information provided is as relevant as possible, Perplexity engages in an interactive dialogue, posing questions to better understand and refine your needs.

This is made possible through its sophisticated answer engine, which processes your inquiries and tasks. It considers the entire thread of the conversation for contextual understanding. Leveraging its predictive text technology, Perplexity then crafts effective responses, drawing from a variety of sources. It selects the most appropriate response and presents the information in a clear, summarized format.

Perplexity Features

Here are some stand-out features provided by Perplexity:

1. Perplexity Copilot

Perplexity Copilot is one of the best features in Perplexity. Unlike traditional search engines that provide quick, often surface-level answers, Copilot engages in a conversational approach, leveraging advanced AI models like GPT-4 and Claude 2. Copilot interacts with you, asking clarifying questions to really understand your query. This means you’re not just getting a response; you’re getting a response that’s tailored to your specific needs.

What really sets Copilot apart is its ability to distill complex information into concise, relevant answers. It’s like having a research assistant who not only understands the breadth of your inquiry but also knows exactly where to look.

Whether it’s academic papers, news articles, or forum discussions, Copilot navigates through a vast array of sources, ensuring that what you get is not just accurate but also comprehensive. For educators and researchers like us, this is invaluable. Imagine diving into a literature review or exploring a new educational theory; Copilot doesn’t just fetch random papers but provides a curated list, even offering summaries. This isn’t just a time-saver; it’s a way to enhance the depth and quality of our research and understanding.

The way Copilot works is simple and easy. You start with a question, and through an interactive process, it refines its search, constantly aligning with your needs. The result is a succinct, substance-rich answer, with every source just a click away for further exploration.

However, as with any tool, it’s important to use Copilot judiciously. While it significantly elevates the research process, it’s essential to validate the information independently. Think of Copilot as a starting point, a way to jumpstart your exploration, but always with a critical eye towards the sources and the context of the information provided.

2.Search Focus

Search Focus in Perplexity is a nifty feature that really hones in on the essence of targeted searching. It’s like having a magnifying glass that can zoom in on exactly the kind of information you need.


Perplexity

When you’re starting a new thread in Perplexity, hitting the Focus button opens up a world of possibilities. You get to choose from a dropdown menu the specific source you want to concentrate on. This means all your follow-up questions will be directed towards this chosen domain, ensuring that the responses are not just relevant but also deeply focused on the area of your interest.

The options available in Search Focus are quite diverse and cater to a wide range of needs:

  1. All: This is your broad sweep across the internet, perfect for when you want a comprehensive understanding of a topic.
  2. Academic: Tailored for us in the academic field, this option zeroes in on scholarly articles and academic publications. It’s like having a digital librarian who knows exactly where to find the best academic resources.
  3. Wolfram Alpha: For those who deal with computational data and mathematical calculations, this option is a godsend. It focuses on delivering precise computational answers.
  4. YouTube: This is fantastic for visual and auditory learners or when you need a break from text-heavy content. It allows searches specifically within YouTube, complete with timestamps and in-platform video viewing.
  5. Reddit: When you’re looking for community discussions, opinions, or want to gauge public sentiment, this option filters your search to focus on Reddit, providing a streamlined experience that cuts through the noise.

3. Writing Mode

This is another key feature in Perplexity. Imagine you’re working on a piece of writing or coding, and you need assistance that’s not reliant on the internet. Writing Mode is your go-to. It allows you to engage with the AI assistant in a way that’s focused on generating and processing text or code, independent of online distractions or searches. It’s like having a focused brainstorming session with a knowledgeable assistant.

4. Collections

The Collections feature in Perplexity is a fantastic organizational tool, especially for those of us who juggle multiple projects or topics. Think of it as your digital filing cabinet, but much more sophisticated and collaborative. It allows you to group your threads into distinct, shareable spaces. This not only helps in keeping your thoughts and research structured but also gives you control over who gets to see and contribute to these collections.

The benefits of using Collections are manifold. Firstly, it helps in keeping your threads neatly organized into groups. This is particularly useful when you’re dealing with various subjects or projects. Secondly, the ability to customize privacy settings for each collection and thread is a boon. It means you can keep some collections public for collaboration while keeping others private for sensitive information. Lastly, the collaboration aspect is a game-changer. You can invite others to contribute to your collections, making it a dynamic space for brainstorming and feedback.

5. AI Profile

The AI Profile feature in Perplexity is like having a personal assistant who knows your preferences inside out. It’s a space where you can input all your unique preferences for information gathering, and the AI remembers these details for future searches. This means you don’t have to repeatedly specify your preferences in each search query; the AI already knows what you like and how you like it. You can find and manage your AI Profile easily in the Settings page, accessible from the top right corner tab.

The AI Profile is a powerful tool for personalizing your search experience. It’s particularly useful for educators and researchers who often have specific, recurring needs when it comes to information gathering. By setting up your AI Profile, you’re essentially streamlining your search process, making it more efficient and tailored to your unique requirements.

How to use Perplexity in education?

Check out the table below to learn how Perplexity can be used by both teachers and students:



How much does Perplexity cost?

Perplexity offers both a free plan and a more feature-rich Pro version ($20/month). The free plan is great for getting a feel of what Perplexity can do, but it comes with limitations. For those who need more, the Pro version steps up the game significantly. With Pro, you get a hefty 600 queries every 24 hours using the GPT-4-powered Copilot for a more guided and personalized search experience. Pro users also gain the advantage of having GPT-4 for quick or default searches, ensuring enhanced response quality.

Related: 5 Best AI Voice Changers

Final thoughts

Perplexity is definitely an excellent research tool that uses the power of AI to provide sourced information, engage in meaningful dialogue, and tailor responses to individual needs thus marking a significant leap forward from platforms like ChatGPT.

As educators and lifelong learners, the journey of knowledge is endless and ever-evolving. Tools like Perplexity are vital companions on this journey, offering new ways to explore, understand, and interact with the vast world of information. It’s an exciting time to be involved in education, and Perplexity is undoubtedly leading the charge in harnessing the power of AI to empower and enlighten both teachers and students.

Sources:

Perplexity FAQ

The post Perplexity: A Great AI Search Engine for Teachers and Students appeared first on Educators Technology.

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