This week, we’ll be focusing on some technology updates that are especially helpful to educators and integration advocates. These resources will get you thinking about new tools. Along with, using the tools to as a pathway to real learning and inquiry. For today’s feature, we’re going to take a little walk through my latest addiction – Learnist!
Learni.st is currently in Beta, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until we get the full-scale version. The best part about it being in Beta is that you’ll get to experience it from the ground up. Learni.st is built in a very similar fashion to Pinterst, but is designed specifically with the educator in mind. There are various categories that you can explore (including one dedicated solely to education), and within those categories are websites, articles, lessons, ideas and more that you can “pin” to your Learning Board. You can even create a collection of Learning Boards within each category of your own choosing, making this tool a very personal experience.
Perhaps this what I love most about Learni.st.
It is a technology application that allows you to both make the information from the global sphere personal to your own relevance while at the same time allowing you to create something with that learning and share it with the global network. This is what I believe will mark the next generation of education. We’re already seeing it with Common Core and the Semantics Principle of technology in bursts of technicolor to our currently grey vision in education. In order to be successful in the 21st century, we’re going to need learners who can personalize the amazing wealth of information thrown at them and then contribute it to the larger global network to create something totally new. Finding applications like Learni.st is just one way to move this type of system forward.
Here are some great ways to start using Learni.st in your classroom and for your own Professional Learning Network:
1. A Digital Portfolio –
This provides a new look to a traditional portfolio of information. You and your students can add blog posts, pictures, work samples, etc. creating a “portfolio at a glance”. This provides a larger picture of student learning and growth through a performance measure.
2. A Research Project –
One of the hallmarks of the Common Core Writing Standards comes in the form of students completing a research project based on non-fiction sources. This provides a perfect way to categorize learning on a broad topic to narrow in on a synthesis of data.
3. Impetus of Inquiry –
Used as a way to prompt student inquiry, teachers can compile Learni.st boards on topics that they would like their students to explore more deeply. Perhaps using boards with images around a central theme and then providing interesting questions about that theme that students can answer based upon their own study of the images.
4. Collaboration with Creativity –
Learni.st boards can be shared, edited and re-shared. By setting up a group of boards, teachers and students alike can flip through the boards, add to them, refine the content based on discussion. Creativity is often what happens as a result of editing and refinement. This venue provides a space for that kind of learning.
5. A Resource Library –
Perhaps the most important aspects of this tool is the collection of personalized resources provided in one space. Again, we feel bombarded with information, much of which requires sorting to make it relevant to our own needs. By compiling the resources using this tool, we make the synthesis of that information easier for ourselves and our students.
Hopefully, these ideas give you a head start on exploring and using Learni.st this school year. Let’s not keep it to ourselves though! Let’s use it as a way to engage with our students to make learning an interactive experience!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.