Hot on the heels of Bill Gate’s pronouncement that, in five years, the best education will come from the web (link here), I stumbled onto this e-learning tool called Curatr (link here). Seems not only will the web afford the best education, it will afford the most fun, engaging and social education, if Curatr has any say in the matter.
Curatr is a social learning platform that is designed with three goals in mind: connection; engagement; and, curation. Combining a visually-pleasing interface, gaming theory and social elements with a “museum” metaphor, Curatr hopes to push educational endeavors by tapping into peoples’ basic pleasure triggers. Instead of a bland list or web page look, Curatr uses “nodes” to encourage click-through behavior. The nodes, which represent learning objects, remind me of the look of social sharing site Pearltrees:
Nodes are rated and positioned in the hierarchy based on reliability. Rating and positioning is based on popularity, relevancy, and fit with other learning objects within the museum.
A Curatr product can be themed to a learning institution’s look. Users and objects are added to make the learning relevant to the institution. Classes are known as “museums” in Curatr, where the scope can be as broad or narrow as the institution decides. The Museum’s leader is called the Curatr, and he or she offers the most information in his or her gallery. Each user within a museum also has a “gallery” in which the user can curate his or her content, or learning objects – either new or repurposed from other users.
Users can also create collections, exhibitions and the more linear guides, all promoting the subject matter of the museum. Users are also encouraged to interact and share through implementation of gaming theory within the Curatr product, with experience points and badges, because as developer Ben Betts says, people love awards.
Switch from learning object view to peer view to see the users or learners within a particular Museum. You can see the biggest contributors and locate friends, as well as identify who the knowledge experts are.
Curatr content is kept fresh with real-time updates. There are alerts for changes and actions taken in connection with a particular user’s information. Real-time means that there will always be something to see, so users are encouraged to regularly interact with the content. The Curatr site is accessible from Android and Apple-powered mobile devices, including the soon-to-be-top-dawg in the edu-world, iPad. This, of course, is a big plus – learning is no longer limited by time and location constraints, but can happen anywhere, at any time. Interestingly, Curatr is Flash-based, so you need Android 2.2 or higher. Obviously, Curatr has come up with an iOS-friendly version to get around the Flash issue.
Why am I spending so much time investigating a new learning platform like this on a legal blog? Because I am visualizing how a law school or continuing Legal Ed classroom could shine with such a product. We are well past the days of passive lectures – just imagine how much richer and engaging the content presented by such a novel learning approach. I know there is some wishful thinking on my part going on here, but I would be far more interested in the “living” subject matter of a 1L course presented within the context of Curatr, than presented within the context of a two hour, post-lunch, one-sided lecture.
Here is a vid quick overview of the platform in action:
Want more? Check out Mr. Betts’ explanation of what makes Curatr special in the vid below. And maybe you will see Curatr in action soon at an institution of learning near you.