Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Learnist is Like Pinterest for Learning

Learnist is a new site (still in beta) that aims to be like Pinterest but for sharing learning resources. On Learnist you can create pinboards of materials organized around a topic. You can create multiple boards within your account and make your boards collaborative. You can pin images, videos, and text to your boards by using the Leanist bookmarklet, by manually entering the URL of a resource, or by uploading materials to your boards. Take a look at the video below for a brief introduction to Learnist.

Applications for Education
Learnist is still in a closed beta period so you will have to apply for an invitation (I got mine in a few days). Once you're in you can start following members of your professional learning community and collaborating on the collation of resources that are beneficial to you and your students.

Decode QR Codes Without a Camera

I've written about QR codes a bunch of times in the past, most recently in this post. The problem with all of those posts is that they rely on the use of some type of phone camera or webcam. Thanks to a Tweet by Doug Peterson this morning I discovered a solution to that problem.

QRreader (beta) is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to use your browser to decode QR codes. With QRreader installed when you come to a QR code on the web you can simply right-click on it to decode it. If the QR code is for a webpage, the page will open in a new tab. If the QR code is for text, it will open in a text dialogue box.

On a slightly related note, Chrome recently overtook Internet Explorer as the most-used browser in the world. The wealth of handy extensions like QRreader is one of the reason that I and many others prefer Chrome over all other browsers.

Learners TV Offers a Big Collection of Science Animations

There isn't any shortage of sites attempting to organize academic videos, I shared a nice one yesterday, but there aren't too many that are also organizing animations. Learners TV has organized hundreds of academic videos. They've also organized more than one hundred science animations. The science animations on Learners TV are organized into three categories; biology, physics, and chemistry.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some animations to illustrate concepts mentioned in your science lessons, take a look at the Learners TV gallery of animations. I think it would be great if Learners TV had paired the animations to specific videos in their libraries. That could be a student project too.

Playfic - Write and Read Interactive Stories

In the past I've shared tools and ideas for creating choose your own adventure videos. Now I'd like to introduce you to Playfic for creating choose your own adventure text-based stories.

Playfic is a tool for creating text-based, choose your own adventure stories. Playfic is based on Inform7 which use "if, then" logic to allow anyone to create their stories. When authors plan and write their stories they can include multiple paths for readers to pursue as they progress through their stories. Readers navigate through the stories by entering directional commands such as "go north" and "go south." Click here to try a sample story and learn a bit about the logic of Playfic.

Applications for Education
Learning to navigate through existing stories on Playfic is relatively easy. Learning to formulate a story from scratch on Playfic will take some time because it does force you to not only plan your story, it also forces you to think about logic commands and how your readers will navigate through your story. For that reason I love the ideas of having students use Playfic to create and share stories with each other. Writing stories on Playfic requires creativity and logical reasoning. While writing their stories students can click on a preview. If studetns have errors in the logic when they click on the preview Playfic will point those out and explain the errors so that the errors can be corrected.

Lobsters, Lighthouses, and Google Apps

I hinted at this a couple of weeks ago in a post about summer learning opportunities, but now I am able to officially announce the Google Apps for Education Maine Summit.

The Google Apps for Education Maine Summit will be held on August 16th and 17th in Yarmouth, Maine. This two day event will feature keynotes and workshops presented by Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers, Google engineers, and representatives from the Google Apps for Education team. The event is open to any educator interested in learning about using Google Apps for Education to support student learning. I will be presenting on  August 16th.

Yarmouth, Maine is located along the coastline just a short drive north of Portland and one town south of Freeport. After your mind is filled-up with new learning during the day, Yarmouth, Freeport, Portland offer lots of nice vacation activities like golfing, sightseeing, ocean kayaking (LL Bean in Freeport offers great trips for new paddlers), retail outlet shopping, and plenty of places to enjoy a world-famous Maine lobster dinner.