8 ways to use Learnist, a Pinterest-like education site
June 20, 2012
Learnist bears a striking similarity to Pinterest by way of Wikipedia, and the busy knowledge-sharing site is bursting at the seams with content.
Want to know how to write objectively, use Photoshop, or experiment with the “flipped classroom"? Now you can with Learnist boards. Experts create pages or “boards,” which serve as informative or instructional layouts where external sources are used to support any given topic.
Education Dive compiled a list of 8 ways that education-focused Learnist boards present trends, tips, and resources to help you learn and eventually share what you know:
1. Offer lesson plans in multiple formats
How to do it: Learnist helps young writers and English students tackle literary complexities. Kristin DeLorme, a teacher and librarian, uses a board to show students how to find the main idea of a text and write an objective summary. Her approach to the subject matter is multi-faceted. She uses a PowerPoint presentation, an instructive YouTube video, articles and several written exercises to aid her followers.
2. Share tips for SAT preparation
How to do it: Katie Cantrell, a tutor and blogger, uses Learnist to provide free online SAT and ACT prep-related tutorials.
While Learnist boards like these may not be able to replace face-to-face tutoring sessions, they certainly could, if carefully designed, reduce the amount of tutoring a teenager might need, or at the very least, serve as additional support. Teens may also be more receptive to this plugged-in, media-centered approach. Cantrell also points to other Learnist boards for support or review.
3. Provide samples from larger resource databases
How to do it: BBC uses Learnist to display what they have to offer—and what you can learn from watching, reading, and following their broadcasts.
This board is a good example of one of the site’s strong suits—consolidation. BBC did not do any research specifically for this Learnist board. Instead, they used the Learnist site to amass and promote some of their features, directing you to their own external site.
While many Learnist boards offer a variety of outside sources for support (from YouTube, Wikipedia or JSTOR), this one points toward itself, creating something of an advertisement. It’s almost like a BBC fan page where BBC is the fan, and all its many faces (such as BBC Food, BBC Podcasts, BBC Science and BBC History) are right there on one highly accessible page.
4. Captain your own education with an open learning experience
How to do it: Cadence H. Chance's board is for the avid learner. The “D.I.Y & Education” Learnist board aims to empower people with the tools they need to self-educate. Chance arms the “do-it-yourself- learner” with a variety of resources: a unique search engine, a site focused on finding free course materials for college students, a virtual library, etc.
This is in some ways the quintessential Learnist Board. As Jeff Fagnan, fellow Learnist user and fanatic, says, it’s “learning meets social curation.”
5. Acquire a new skill or hobby using virtual tutorials
How to do it: Angela Field's board teaches basic and advanced principles of photography. The reality is, you can’t become a world-renown photographer by only reading a Learnist board, but you can certainly get a head start.
Field provides tips on how to photograph a variety of subjects, and attempts to tackle loftier concepts such as “fine art.” She also gives valuable information about numerous photo-editing software which is equally, if not more, helpful as photo-editing requires practice and vision like the art of photography itself, but is in some ways more receptive to instruction.
6. Share innovative ideas to improve student’s learning environment
How to do it: Alex Hernandez and two others created a graphic discussion of the effectiveness of next-generation school design. It discusses architecture and learning in causal terms. Attempting to bridge a disconnect between physical space and the learning process, the board promotes student creativity through aesthetics and architectural design.
7. Use technology in the classroom to make history fun
How to do it: Neal Huddon-Cossar’s Learnist board provides information on events that have taken place on one day, March 22nd. With events ranging from “Reese Witherspoon is born” to the Katyn Massacre during WWII, this board is a fun and interesting approach to historical information.
8. Share new approaches to teaching
How to do it: “Flip teaching” is a method of blended learning which employs Internet use and other technology to augment the learning environment so that teachers can evenly distribute their attention to each student. Melanie Turner's board encourages educators to consider the pros and cons of the “flipped classroom,” and encourages them to seek alternate teaching methods to increase student productivity and success.
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