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Review by Mary Beth Hertz, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013

Learnist

Locate, curate, and share multimedia content on tidy little boards

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
  • College & Career Prep

Subjects
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

Take a look inside

5 images

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.

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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Editor's Note: The Learnist website is no longer available. There is an app available for download, but it has not been updated since 2015.

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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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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Overall Rating

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

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?

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?

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. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Mary Beth Hertz Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews)
Featured review by
Adina S. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Search for or create resources on topics of interest

The site itself is relatively easy to set up and use. You do have to have an email address to set up an account, so that would prevent many from being able to create boards. One of the nice features is that you can search for images or videos from within the site. Unfortunately, the results are very limited. The tool isn't the best for more than just a small amount of information due the the layout, and is a limiting choice for student creation.

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