Kolibri – Offline Library for learning

Kolibri is a project of the Learning Equality project.  It turns any computer into a library of offline learning content which is shared across the local network.  So a laptop on a wireless router can serve content to any other computer which connects to it.  Kolibri is easy to configure and can provide various levels of functionality – from a stand alone library on one computer to an institution wide system with user accounts for each student.  It is completely free and open source and very easy to set up.  https://learningequality.org/kolibri/

Our local Enactus team at La Sierra University is doing a similar project using thumb drives.  They don’t have a website yet but may in the future.

Review – StoryBird.com – Great site for stimulating creative writing

Storybird provides a curated collection of storybook illustrations and page layout templates  which students can use to create their own illustrated poems and storybooks. Storybird is all about triggering and guiding creative writing.

Students may select a pool of artwork by selecting a particular artist or by using a subtractive set of tags to refine their selection.  Once they have made the choice of their image parameters they cannot change them and must continue the story telling process using that pool of images.

I was at first really turned off by the limitations of this app – no artwork uploads, no ability to add more pictures to the pool as you go.  I then read the help part of the website and realized that the limitations were very intentional. The idea is to allow the users to simply get into the writing process.  The pictures are like idea cues for possible directions a story can go. By being limited one is forced to look for ways to use the art in creative or metaphorical ways. This is really quite fantastic as a teaching tool.

For a more flexible experience which still provides an excellent curated collection of artwork in a modern and clean interface – but that also lets you add your own pictures and switch artists as often as you like definitely check out the amazing Indian project Storyweaver by Pratham Books

 

Meet Edison -Robotics for Everyone

Edison is a $30 – $50 robot designed for education.  It is lego compatible and loaded with sensors and functionality.  It has dual front object detection, a line tracker on the bottom, a microphone and a piezo buzzer for playing tones.  Edison can be programmed from any computer or device with a headphone jack – (PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chromebooks etc).  Edisons can also send messages to each other using infrared light or can be remote controlled using any IR remote control (TV, DVD, VCR etc).  Edison can be programmed in a variety of ways using different programming interfaces depending on the age and skill level of the student.  There are a set of 

barcodes for use with 4+ year old students. There is the EdBlocks interface which provides a lego block like programming environment as well as the EdPython interface for a full text only programming experience for more advanced students as well as a hybrid interface called EdWare.

All of the programming environments come with a full set of example programs and a fully developed set of activities and instructions.  Students love loading up the various examples and trying them out. This provides a great way to explore and learn by experimentation. My students love having Sumo bot wars in an arena drawn on a paper with sharpie.

Check it out at.  www.meetedison.com

WeVideo – video editing for the masses

WeVideo is a 100% browser based video editing platform.  It offers a free account that also provides a limited library of stock audio and video.  It runs in google chrome and requires an extension.  It offers a simple but effective multi-track Non Linear Editor interface that allows for cutting and transitioning clips.  I will be trying this in our lab.  We shall see how the bandwidth holds up with 25 to 30 instances running.  If it works this could be a great tool for students to collaborate on a project requiring planning and media management.  With students working in small groups the load on the network may be much more manageable…more like 10 instances.   The free account limits exported video to 5 min per month

Donorschoose.org – get your project funded

Donorschoose.org is a way for you to get your amazon shopping cart of project supplies paid for.  It is like a crowdsourced micro grant program.  It is primarily for public school classrooms.  There are several options that are similar for the private sector – good360.org, adoptaclassroom.com, modestneeds.org