Website review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2021

Intergalactic Mobile Learning Center

Free collaborative tools a bit clunky, but kid-friendly and cohesive

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Grades
1–5
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking

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Pros: The apps integrate with Google Classroom easily, and the interactive lessons add a unique layer.

Cons: They don't look as slick as Google or Microsoft apps, and a decent amount of lesson setup is required of teachers.

Bottom Line: For elementary classrooms and virtual learning experiences, this collaborative app site will keep kids connected with the material and each other.

Teachers in 1-to-1 classrooms, or those looking for easy collaboration tools for their students, can make good use of the tools on the Intergalactic Mobile Learning Center site. They're all web-based, so there's nothing to install, and they can be accessed on any device. The Dashboard makes it easy to set up classes and student rosters by email address, CSV file, or integration with Google Classroom. Teachers should note that a scary-seeming permissions window pops up when you sign in with Google: Read the developer's response to those concerns here.

Once your classes are set up, read through the tutorials, manuals, and getting started guides for each of the tools; these will show you how to best integrate the tools into your lessons. Then check out some of the sample Roadmaps and lesson plans for more ideas. The multimedia options help you create more accessible lessons.

When you're ready to create your own Roadmap in LessonBuilder, use any or all of the tools to design material and activities for students to do on their own, with a partner, or even with a group. You can then monitor and assess class and student progress on the Dashboard, and share your lessons with other teachers. These tools can be used either in the classroom or with remote learning. Assign lessons to individual students or to pairs or groups. Note that, while working together and collaborating can create new ways of discovery and learning, some students may learn better independently, so consider making room for solitary exploration of these tools as well.

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The Intergalactic Mobile Learning Center is a free suite of tools designed for teacher and student use in grades one through six. It's designed with collaboration among students in mind, covering applications for writing, drawing, document markup, numbers, and other purposes. Teachers can use it to create lesson Roadmaps for their students, and students can follow those Roadmaps or even create new documents, either on their own or synchronously or asynchronously with other students. The built-in apps are simpler, slower, and less polished than comparable ones by Google or Microsoft, but they're specifically oriented toward classroom use, with a teacher dashboard and lesson building tools, and with a focus on collaboration. Students can input text, draw, record audio, and even insert Google images right from the interface. Files can be shared with others, and documents can also be exported to PDF.

The apps are divided into two categories: the 1:1 Classroom Roadmap System and the Collaborative Learning Productivity Tool Suite. The 1:1 Classroom apps are directed toward the teacher: Dashboard, LessonBuilder, and LessonLauncher. This is where teachers can create lessons for their students, share lessons with other teachers, assign lessons to students, and monitor student progress.

The Collaborative Learning apps include Writer, a word processor; Chart, a spreadsheet program; Map, for mind maps, flowcharts, and relationship indication; PDFPal, a PDF markup program; KWL, for keeping track of KWL notes; and Flipbook, a drawing and animation program students can use to create digital flip-books. Two or more students can collaborate on documents within these apps from their own devices; changes made on one device immediately appear on the other.

The lesson possibilities and easy access of the Intergalactic Mobile Learning Center make for a very open-ended learning environment. With it, teachers can create and students can complete assignments, in ELA classrooms and far beyond. Collaborative work is this suite's biggest strength, with students inspiring each other and building on each other's work and ideas. They can also do peer editing on papers, as well as export documents to PDF and then mark them up, all within the suite of tools.

The other unique element is the Roadmap: Being able to create a series of activities in a mind-map format around a driving question adds a layer to tools that otherwise are simple and exist elsewhere. But bringing all of these elements together in one place gives this platform a utilitarian edge -- and plus, they're free. Kids aren't going to be wowed by the tools, which aren't slick or fancy, and creating a Roadmap might take some time to do really well. But if you and your students get into a flow with these tools, they can be a great way to get kids working -- and thinking -- together.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Students will love demonstrating their learning in multiple forms, being creative, and collaborating, but they might not be impressed with the tools themselves.

Pedagogy

Hands-on creation, from scratch or based on assignments from a teacher, gets students thinking for themselves and building on a partner's ideas with projects both large and small. 

Support

Teachers have access to plenty of tutorials, manuals, templates, and guides on getting started. The dashboard and assignment creation tools empower teachers to create learning flows for students to work on independently or collaboratively.


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