CTRL-ALT-DELiver 20 looks at Learning with a crowd at MentorMob and World Read Aloud Day
And now…on to the EdTech!
This week I was introduced to a new website. It is MentorMob.com They describe themselves as a “Learning Playlist” site. As an educator, I am always in search of new ways to introduce material to my students. So, what IS a playlist? A playlist consists of links to images, websites, or videos. These links have instructional comments added, along with the ability to include tags for keywords. A quick browse of available playlists brought up one on the causes of World War II, something that my students are just about to begin. This particular playlist had six steps in its instruction. Step one provided a link to a website with a summary of the causes and background leading up to WWII. Step two outlines the leaders of the major players, along with a fairly extensive list of the countries that were taken over by Germany. Step 3 pulls a section of a documentary from YouTube explaining Hitler’s rise to power. The next step discusses the relationship that Japan and the US prior to the war. Step Five is a 1939 Speech from FDR discussing America’s growing concerns about what is happening in Europe. The final step in the instruction comes from a website called 5min.com, which bills itself as your one stop shop for instructional videos and DIY projects. The video covers WHY American citizens wanted to become involved in the war. And so, in a nutshell, you can see how simple it is to create a playlist that includes images, videos, and static webpages. I created a quick playlist about Flipped Classrooms,a concept that we discussed on Waves of Tech Episode 123. Since it’s creation last Wednesday, another contributor has come in and edited my playlist, adding two additonal videos about how to get students to do their work in a Flipped Classroom and a speech from Aaron Sams about starting the concept Oh wait, it wasn’t just another contributor. It was Vince Leung, Co-Founder and COO of MentroMob. MentorMob,also has a Community feature that also makes it quite useful. You can see who is learning what and share comments with them about the playlists. It is this “mob” mentality, the power of the group, that gives MentorMob its strength. Erin Sheffer at MentorMob has been awesome about answering my questions about MentorMob and says : “MentorMob is building a community of educators who not only create Playlists for their students, they also collect educational resources, helpful tips and new connections with and for teachers around the world. MentorMob wants to become a place where educational professionals collaborate on Playlists together to provide free and accessible learning to everyone.”
I asked Vince What would you say to people is the main thing that would set you apart from another site, such as Livebinders.com, that aggregates weblinks?
He responded: “Livebinders.com is great, no doubt. One of the main differences is we’re focusing on user experience. Actually, we’re obsessed with it. We pride ourselves in looking slick yet simple to use, like the iPhone. Plus we have a widget feature where you can embed the Playlist you’ve created on MentorMob into any blog, website, or LMS (learning management system). We’ve also just become mobile friendly! As for new user experience features coming up, we’re continuing to build MentorMob Pro accounts, which boast special analytic and privacy upgrades among other new features.”
This week’s pick is Hero by Mike Lupica
Fourteen-year-old Billy Harriman can feel the changes. The sharpening of his senses. The incredible strength. The speed, as though he can text-message himself across miles. The confidence and the strange need to patrol Central Park at night. His dad had been a hero, a savior to America and a confidante of the president. Then he died, and the changes began in Billy. What Billy never knew was that his father was no ordinary man – he was a superhero, battling the world’s evil. This is a battle that has been waged for generations and that knows no boundaries. And now it’s Billy’s turn to take on the fight. It’s Billy’s turn to become a hero.
Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America. His longevity at the top of his field is based on his experience and insider’s knowledge, coupled with a provocative presentation that takes an uncompromising look at the tumultuous world of professional sports. Today he is a syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News, which includes his popular “Shooting from the Lip” column, which appears every Sunday.
Wait a minute! Why am I including a sports columnist in my pick? Because Mike Lupica is also an author that is sure to entice your reluctant students to read. I’m talking about your boys, and girls, that are avid sports fanatics and shy away from the idea that doing something so sedentary as sitting and reading a book.Travel Team, Heat, Miracle on 49th Street, and Summer Ball and his Comeback Kid Series are just some of the sports related titles that he has written. But my Audible pick stepped outside of the batter’s box, along with the author, as he stretched out to a new genre. Hero delves into the idea of what does it take to be a hero, to be brave, to be honorable. And when it is looked at in that light, it is easy to see that the comparison to sports, doing your best and playing with integrity, is NOT that far of a step away. While I, for one, am hoping to see a sequel to Hero, as a teacher, I am appreciative of what Mike Lupica’s sports books have meant to my growing readers.
Follow him @mikelupica1 on Twitter and check out his website at Mike Lupica’s Official Website
And now for our feature on KidLit
@shannonmiller is a Teacher Librarian & Technology Integration Specialist at 1:1 school who loves creating, sharing, books, technology, and Web 2.0. Looking into her Complete Profile, you will see that she is a prolific blogger that not only stays on top of things with the extensive list of blogs that she follows, but then passes it along through her own blogs and on Twitter. It is through her, for example, that I became aware of The CYBILS-The Chidren and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards. They just announced their choices for the 2011 Awards. The winners include Mirror, Mirror by Marilyn Singer for poetry. (If you haven’t seen this book, look it up and be amazed. She tells fairy tales, through poetry, presenting two sides of the story with the same words, but read in reverse order.) For fiction, the winner was the tremendously funny The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by the very clever, Tom Angleberger. Right now she is working up to World Read Aloud Day on March 7th. Find out more about that at her blog and you can follow her at @shannonmiller on Twitter.