The most popular bulletin board in social media today is Pinterest. But now, Grockit! is launching its own version called Learnist (http://learni.st) for educators. While both follow a scrapbook styled interface designed for communicative sharing, the focal points of each company differs. Pinterest is primarily used for sharing favored material goods and inspired ideas, whereas Learnist is intended for dispersing educational tools and learning resources. Teachers can easily design online content and craft a set of lessons using this powerful image-based platform. They take a topic they want to teach to their students and design a visual presentation around it.
On Learnist, teachers can also display a variety of resources or “posts” that are pertinent to their lesson plan, including images, videos, blog posts, Google maps, slide share decks, podcasts, music, Wikipedia articles live streams and more. Teachers and students alike can add annotations, explanations and commentary to the posts; all of which can be shared on Facebook, if so desired. The posts can also be ordered, remixed, mapped, or scaffolded for differentiation on the bulletin to ensure that the sequence makes sense to students. Even full-length books can be posted on Learnist’s “Learnboards”. Students can check off the posts they have read or watched. Then, they can offer their own suggestions or get an expert to comment on a particular bulletin board. This process allows teachers to monitor both what is being viewed and the degree of student engagement with the posts.
For example, on Learnist, students can simulate a trip to ancient Mesopotamia by uploading their travel schedule, asking & receiving tips from travel agents, sharing pictures/videos, saving information on cities such as Sumer or Babylon and more. In Learnist’s humble opinion, “it’s really a more immersive & interactive experience.”
Learnist’s education platform is appropriate for students of all grade levels, truly running the classroom gamut. Instructors and students can post videos of fire trucks (K-1), images of leaves and photosynthesis (2-4), primary source maps of the discovery of the New World (5-8), classic novels like The Great Gatsby (9-12), or even principles of macroeconomics (University). Even though Learnist is still in beta format, it will be a catalyst for safely incorporating social media platforms into education.
Why Use Learnist?
- motivate students, as they are encouraged to become active learners who design, create, and produce.
- allow students to design boards either independently or within cooperative groups.
- promote cross-collaboration, allowing bulletins to be conjointly created by different classes throughout school or even throughout the world.
- be a showcase for your school to present what students are doing within the classroom and the community.
- allow your content to go viral (Pinterest’s track record of pins being “repinned” is 80%).
- act as a collective event planner for graduation or other school events.
- sell a product to help raise funds for your school.
- showcase a play or other student performances (with parent’s permission).
- offer a scavenger hunt for students to find items pertinent to lesson plans.
- present a video of a debate in social studies.
- offer a link to a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation.
- link to your or another classroom’s Wiki or Blog.
- pin a notable quote from English literature.
- offer a contest such as “Pin It to Win It”, where students post relevant content to the class bulletin and have their peers repin their favorite posts.
- pin to teach: showing images of “how-to” or “step-by-step” instructions.
- display visual images of a science fair or social history showcase.
- present interviews of notable people.
- offer a timeline of pictures, such as photos of a cocoon’s metamorphosis into a butterfly.
In what ways can you use Learnist to stretch the boundaries of active learning? Thinking about the 7 Habits of Creativity, in what ways can you use this platform to gentrify some great old lessons into a new, refreshing format? (To reply, please click on the comment link next to the title or scroll down.)
Andi Stix is an educational consultant & coach who specializes in differentiation, interactive learning, writing across the curriculum, classroom coaching and gifted education. For further information on her specialties or social media, please email her on the Contact page.
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