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Pros: Dynamic units include background information; options for collaboration and creativity.
Cons: The content is limited without a subscription, and sign-up isn’t yet optimized.
Bottom Line: Versatile video-based curriculum inspires reflection and action.
Belouga is versatile and can fit in a variety of contexts. For example, teachers could select specific videos for current events or class discussions or SEL activities. It's designed for more in-depth projects -- either whole-class, group, or individual. It'd also be great for independent study projects, since it includes a variety of passions and topics. Students could also connect with a peer from around the world and then, through distance collaboration, present their learning to their class. Students can join classes for multiple teachers so that teachers from different content areas can review cross-curricular assignments. The virtual classroom features also let teachers use videos outside of the Belouga collection.
Topics within Belouga are globally focused, cross-curricular, and diverse. When teachers create their account, they can select content area and grade level of students, and content is suggested. Students answer a few questions to narrow their interests for suggested content. Teachers and students can search by keywords or filter by subject or sustainable development goal (SDG). Within Belouga, teachers and students can also connect with classes from around the world. Students can be partnered with a specific buddy, or classes can connect more broadly.
Each unit intersperses quick questions with videos, reflection questions, and activities and projects for students to complete. Students can submit images or text through the site, and teachers can assign work to classes and view student progress from their dashboard. The platform also has distance learning features like screen sharing, virtual hand raising, real-time transcription, and recording for students who missed class.
Belouga brings everything together to make learning meaningful: real-world issues, dynamic content, and cross-curricular applications tied to the content. And after students learn, they take action. Allowing for other videos and hosting distance learning features make it even easier to assign and track learning. Each lesson or unit gives an overview of how long the project should take, which is helpful for teacher planning. Being able to search by estimated time would also be helpful.
One downside: account setup. Teachers have to wait from a few hours to a couple of days to get their account activated. Students create their accounts and then have to add themselves to a teacher's class by entering the teacher's name, selecting from a list, and then selecting two images the teacher has chosen. A join code or direct link would make the process easier -- or, even better, integration with other full-scale learning management systems. According to the developer, a more streamlined process for adding students to a classroom is in the works.