We’re big fans of the newest educational social network on the block, Learnist. It’s a highly intuitive social network just for learners. If you want to find a new way to understand something, say goodbye to Wikipedia and hello to Learnist, the “Pinterest For Education.”
But enough of the marketing nonsense. How do you actually use Learnist? How are people using it right this second? I scoured the site and stumbled across a fabulous set of learning boards from Dawn Casey-Rowe. She assembled a bunch of different ways to use Learnist in a high school classroom. Each method is simple, useful, and time-saving. What more could a teacher want?
The below boards are from Dawn and are meant for high schools but are quite clearly easy to use in any classroom. After all, who doesn’t want to organize their digital content better? Who wouldn’t want to teach about useful research skills?
Use One: Organizing Materials
Learnist allows you to organize your lesson plans and materials in one place:
- Select materials
- Post them to your learnboard
- Add commentary.
- Choose materials from anywhere on the Internet
- Use a variety of formats to benefit students’ different learning styles.
Once you’ve gathered your materials and made your learnboard, you’ll have something tangible to use in class or to give to students to use at home.
Use Two: Collaboration
It seems one has time to collaborate. Try the following:
- Create an interdisciplanary unit with a colleague on a learnboard.
- Find out what students are learning in other classes and encourage them to suggest related learnings on your learnboards.
Imagine interdisciplinary lessons that connect all of students’ academic areas!
Use Three: Make It Real
Students constantly say, “Why do I have to learn this? Where am I going to use this in life?”
- Create a learnboard connecting classroom materials with jobs and fields of study.
- Include materials from real-world applications that use classroom materials.
- Encourage students to suggest learnings that apply to career fields, college or advanced study, or life applications related to the materials you are currently studying.
Use Four: Combatting Boredom
Use learnboards to spice up the lesson!
- Include multimedia materials such as songs, videos, and photo essays
- Encourage students to create their own boards.
- Create boards with opposing or controversial opinions and engage students in debate.
Use Five: Level The Playing Field
Let’s face it–some of us got it, and some of us don’t! Technology, that is. Using learnboards in and out of the classroom levels the playing field–it gives students in classes with less technology access to multimedia platforms outside the classroom.
- Assign learnboards as homework outside of the classroom
- Have students meet up at local libraries to access boards
- Send students to school library or tech center.
- Point students to Learnist mobile apps for accessing material on smartphones and tablets.
Use Six: Keeping Students Up To Date
What’s better than being all geared up to teach and having a student who was out return and say, “Hey, what did I miss?” Learnboards can help keep students up to date, even when they need to be absent.
- Email or tweet link to learnboard for absent students.
- Encourage student responsibility for missed material by requiring they access class learnboards or create learnboards for missed materials.
Use Seven: Teach Research Skills
Have you received a thousand papers and projects citing only “Wikipedia” as the source? Create and use Learnboards to:
- teach students to decide which material is credible and appropriate to their mission and audience, and what is better left out.
- teach fundamentals of research
- differentiate between primary and secondary sources
- identify perspective and agenda in curated materials
- identify the experts in the field and quote from their research
- synthesize materials from multiple internet sources
- defend choice of materials using basic research standards
Use Eight: Grouping Students Together
Students never get enough library or group time in class. With Learnist, they can:
- Finish projects on their own
- Collaborate with their group without begging for rides
- Comment, encourage, and edit together as a team.
- Receive feedback along the way from you
Use Nine: Avoid Recreating The Wheel
Using Learnist in the classroom will save me time! The beauty of Learnist is that there is an entire community of people adding material constantly. Take advantage of this!
There are several educators right now creating learning boards aligned to various sets of standards like the Common Core State Standards.
You can search for the standard you are teaching and find tons of ideas out there and boards already created. This will save you tons of time!
Use Ten: Scavenger Hunt!
Start a unit with a scavenger hunt!
Create a form or list for students to find elements related to their classroom material. You can have them write down titles and learnings when they find items.
You can even make this a higher-level learning by asking them to find things, then compare, contrast, and evaluate the materials they found in their hunt.
Even More Awesome
Be sure to check out Dawn’s learning boards here as she has shared even more tips than just the ones listed above!
4 years ago