Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2019

Wakelet

Tell stories, organize or remix content via digital curation platform

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
8–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: It's easy to organize, annotate, and vary collections by uploading items in lots of different formats.

Cons: The linear layout lacks excitement, and kids are bound to come across inappropriate content in the public collections.

Bottom Line: Offers an intuitive way to curate media and make sense of topics by drawing from different sources, but teachers will want to carefully monitor classroom use.

Use Wakelet in a flipped classroom. Pair it with Flipgrid or Screencastify to design a lesson that does more than deliver a lecture or set of instructions. Use it for research. Kids can save links to content and record themselves discussing the information and how it relates to their topic. Or use it to tell a story. Collect content from all over the web to tell a story about a current or historical event, perhaps adding creativity by pairing it with an app like Trading Cards for student-produced content.  

Looking for creative alternatives to traditional assignments? Ditch the busywork and let kids use Wakelet as a digital journal where they post content, record video explanations, add photos, and take notes in order to communicate their understanding. Instead of the traditional exam or essay, let kids submit portfolios to demonstrate content mastery. Or take your students on a virtual field trip, recording video of yourself as a tour guide. The site's versatility lets you save links to images on sites like Google Arts and Culture -- along with YouTube videos and even tweets -- to help students see connections between content.

Finally, consider Wakelet for professional development (PD). Educators share the common frustration of trying to find a way not only to organize content but to present it to colleagues in an engaging and meaningful way. Delivering PD as a story can be a refreshing way to share information and best practices with colleagues. 

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Wakelet is a content curation platform where teachers and students can save links, social media posts, videos, and images as items to later be organized into private or public collections. Users can add notes to each Item in order to tell a story, ask questions, or give directions. Collections come in linear, thumbnail, or grid layouts on a scrollable page, which can be viewed on the site, through the mobile app, or exported as a PDF file. The Media View allows teachers and students to view items without leaving the site.

The linear presentation feels a little mundane and can be overwhelming in robust collections, but savvy teachers can glean resources in order to create their own learning content. Teachers will need to check links when they're ready to assign a collection to make sure they work, keeping in mind that school filters might prevent students from accessing some material. Wakelet isn't explicitly intended for classroom use; while teachers can share curated content with their students, students can also explore collections that others have created. They'll likely come across content that's not school-appropriate, and though there's a Report feature, it's unclear whether or not it does anything.

Since teachers and students can curate content from virtually anywhere on the web, it's easy to design Wakelet collections that promote learning. The opportunity to change up the traditional lesson flow by including videos, images, notes, social media posts, and even your own face and voice makes it possible to reach learners who benefit from multi-modal instruction. Students can hone their research and organization skills as they upload, move content, and annotate their collections via written text or video explanations. This can give teachers valuable insight into student learning and prevent plagiarism by requiring kids to put content into their own words. Students can also teach their peers about a topic by creating and sharing their own collections, either publicly or privately. Students who post their own collections publicly open themselves up to some risks, especially if they follow other users or link their social media accounts to their collections. Teachers should be vigilant about teaching students to protect their privacy online. 

Since Wakelet is so rooted in content consumption, however, it might be hard to assess whether or not students are really learning. It's easy to curate content, and teachers may serve more than their students can consume. It may be better to limit collections to four to six pieces of solid content at first, to give kids a chance to learn about a concept or tell a story with some depth. Also, it's easy to get sidetracked by collections about celebrities, pop culture, and other topics that don't help students focus on objectives. Teachers will want to have a clear strategy to assess learning and to get and give students feedback.

Overall Rating

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

It's easy to get lost in collections if the topic is interesting, so for classroom use, engagement will depend on the content chosen by teachers and students.

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

A lot will depend on the presentation and organization of a collection. If items are arranged to tell a story clearly and effectively, these curated collections can do a lot to enhance student learning.

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

Content variety will help teachers avoid one-size-fits-all lessons and reach students through multiple modalities, but it's tough to differentiate teacher-created collections. The site's blog and tutorials are helpful.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Art F. ,
On the surface, a great tool. For small projects, good, for larger projects, there are limitations in organizing the collections.
What I like about Wakelet: There is a Chrome app that should be installed. Then, when you find a page that meets your selection criterion, you click on the w (Wakelet) button. It opens a window. In this window you click on create a new collection for the first entry, provide a description or other useful information, the name of the collection, submit and finally, you click on the new entry to populate it with the web page. For each additional entry into a collection, you click on the w, type in the ...
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