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Review by Stephanie Trautman, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2015

Beenpod

Help students surf productively with curated bookmarks, notes

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
2-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (0)
Not yet reviewed

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Pros: Collaboration between students, teachers, and peers allows bookmarking and safe searching together.

Cons: Students can only be assigned to one teacher's Beens; using the tool across disciplines in the same school would be tricky.

Bottom Line: A useful and unique way to get classrooms to experience, curate, and annotate the Web together, safely and critically.

Teachers can use this is in a few key ways. First, teachers can invite students to a Been they’ve created and surf the Web with it. This is great for whole-class exploration of a topic or to teach safe searching to students. Teachers could also use this to help students research a topic, conversing with them via online chat, while perusing through what they’ve curated or bookmarked. The collaboration between teacher and student is key here –- the add-on lends itself to being a companion piece for superb Web-browsing. Students can also add peers to their Beens and collaborate on searches together for group projects. Chats can then be centered around a Web resource and archived.

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Editor's Note: Beenpod closed in 2016 and is no longer available.

Beenpod is a Web browser add-on used for bookmarking and surfing the Web collaboratively. Users can create "Beens," which are similar to folders, and then fill these Been folders with annotated sites. To create a Been, a user downloads the add-on, visits a page, and clicks on the Been (conveniently located in the lower-left corner of the screen) to add it to the queue. They can then comment on the site and see each site they’ve added. Once they've got their Beens set up, users can share them with others. Take note that teachers can set up students accounts with ease (including uploading a .CSV file) and no student emails are required.

Many people can collaborate on and add comments to a Been, much like instant messaging. This allows classes to surf the Web together, either in real time or in their own sessions at their own paces. Browsers can pause a session like a DVR, and see a record of surf history too. This is helpful for a teacher who wants to show her students how to search for something or to search things together, while allowing students the ability to follow at their own pace.

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Students can explore the Web on their own, with their peers, or with their teacher, making this bookmarking Web browser add-on perfect for safe and critical searching online. Teachers and students are the only people who can view, search, and send messages, making it a powerful and private tool. Students may need the guidance of a teacher at first in order to make themselves familiar with the site, but it offers so many unique educational opportunities that students will embrace it quickly. Beenpod can be used for researching, bookmarking, outlining ideas, and gathering sources, and allows students to message their teacher for help. It's also a useful tool for instruction, allowing teachers to curate great sites and offer critical context and discussion prompts for students.

It's important to note that students can only be tied to one teacher; it could get complicated if multiple teachers who teach the same students want to use Beenpod in their classrooms.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Interactive, collaborative bookmarking engages students as they browse. Whether students surf the Web with a teacher, with peers, or on their own, Beens are color-coded, simple to use, and easily organized. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Impressively, information gathered here can be used in the non-digital world, and knowledge gained is easily transferred to assignments. Students take an active, itnent role in their Web surfing and take ownership of their experience.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

There are incredibly helpful videos and an exhaustive FAQ section, plus a Google group for educators and a lively, detailed blog. Limited supports for ELL students or special needs students.


Common Sense Reviewer
Stephanie Trautman Classroom teacher