Common Sense Review
Updated May 2013

Learnist

Locate, curate, and share multimedia content on tidy little boards
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Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • Learnist is all about sharing and learning using online content.
  • Each piece of content, or "learning," has its own space on the board.
  • All kinds of topics are covered, from The Great Gatsby to Prince Harry.
  • Featured boards are especially high-quality.
  • There are lots of ways to share and follow Learnist boards.
Pros
There are lots of boards to choose from -- many created by teachers and professionals who know their stuff.
Cons
Not all content is helpful for kids; you have to sift a bit to find truly educational boards.
Bottom Line
Easy-to-use organizational tool lets kids get a taste of all kinds of info, plus create their own content compilations.
Mary Beth Hertz
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Learnist's simple, image-focused layout and organization makes it appealing to users and easy to navigate. Putting together boards could be fun for kids -- depending on the topic, of course.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Aside from learning to compile and organize info, Learnist's learning potential isn't ingrained in the site itself; it depends largely on the user and their purpose. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Learnist has a library of how-to videos that are easily located from the home page, but there aren't many extensions beyond the digital experience or adaptations for ELL or kids with learning disabilities. 

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

You can use Learnist to create boards of articles, images, video, and other media for a course, a particular novel, time period, math concept, or anything else to help students explore content (or even to provide them a launching pad for a larger project). Project the board on a screen and you can create a lesson around it. Students who have accounts can then add your lessons to their own boards, share them with friends, and organize them however they wish. You could even ask that students create a Learnist board instead of a bibliography for a research project, citing their sources visually as well as with text. When they finish with assignments, kids can also create "fun" boards that you could also incorporate into class time, allowing them to share their hobbies and interests with the rest of the class (and maybe teaching a little something as well!).

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What's It Like?

Learnist is a website that lets you create and view boards containing text, images, or video on a particular subject. Using the search feature, you can browse articles, videos, audio files, books, and more by scrolling through a tile-like layout of boards created by other users or content organized into categories like Technology, Education, Science, Health & Fitness, and more. You can create a profile and follow other users; kids must be 13 or older to create an account and curate their own content. Each tile links to a piece of content, which you can "like" to add it to your collection or share the content with your own followers. Plus, you can install a bookmarklet in your browser that allows you to add content from any webpage to any of your boards without having to navigate to the Learnist site. It's a lot like Pinterest, but for learning.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Learnist is primarily for self-directed learners; it's a lot of browsing around, finding the content that interests you, and compiling your own boards. Students can use Learnist to explore and create collections of digital resources revolving around tough concepts, homework materials, or just silly stuff. It can also be used to curate materials for research projects, connect with other users to share resources, or access resources curated by a teacher around a particular course or topic.

However, kids who aren't as self-directed may need assistance deciding on a topic and browsing the Web to find links; once they do, Learnist's page templates make it easy to drop in content to create a simple board. You can also make boards as educational or fun as you like; a board on amphibians could include headings like "My favorite rainforest frogs" and "Watch out for poison!" Kids can personalize the info they've collected with their own commentary, which is fun and helps them to process the content as well.

Kids already familiar with social media sites will quickly pick up Learnist's "like," "share," and "follow" buttons that allow them to collaborate with peers around school-based projects and and more. There's a lot of content, and not all of it is educational; boards run from the oddly simple "Lemons vs. Limes" to "Dangerous and Bizarre Fishing Techniques from Around the World." Alternately, there are a bunch of Common Core-aligned lessons written by teachers available, like "Describing Objects Geometrically."

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