Brian Aspinall has done it again!
Brian is rapidly gaining fame as creating free, incredibly student friendly web resources. The hallmark of his products are ease of signup for teachers who just create a class and the students just use the class. No collection of student information of any kind is done and no student email is required to use the service. Too often, concerns about student information are enough to scuttle technology in the classroom plans. That won’t happen here.
His latest production is called nkwiry. nkwiry is a very classroom friendly social bookmark curating service. There are many similar services on the web but they do require some involved account creation and then a bit of work (read explaining grown up sevices to students and the frustration therein) to get started before you can enjoy some success.
Using nkwiry is as simple as the three images below.
- teacher creates a single account for the class;
- students are added to the class;
- students login with the class code and begin sharing.
Brian originally created nkwiry to supplement the inquiry process in the new Social Studies curriculum.
However, as a classroom teacher, you’re not locked into just Social Studies. Your starter classroom curation looks like this.
Of course, you can add/remove subjects or topics as needed. Adding a link to any category looks pretty familiar if you’ve used any of the popular bookmarking services.
The only thing that appears missing at this point would be creating tags for the bookmarks. Perhaps in an upcoming release?
It’s as functional as that. While the big services may have more features, Brian’s design is specifically for the elementary classroom and provides “just enough” features to do the job.
My first reaction was that this has potential far beyond the single classroom. Instead, if you’re doing a project with another school, consider adding both sets of students into your classroom. All that’s needed is the class name and student code. Perhaps you’re blogging or creating online presentations with another class. nkwiry easily lets you create a functional list summary of all of the participants.
If you’re looking for a simplified interface for curating resources and aren’t interested in having your students wade their way through the features of the current big services, nkwiry may be “just enough” to help you get the job done.
By way of declaration, Brian was a student of mine at the Faculty of Education. Regardless, I am a fan of his approach to creating simplified tools for the classroom with a minimum of registration and respect for student information. You can read an interview that I did with Brian here.
If you like what you’re seeing, make sure you check out his other products, all free and specifically written for the classroom.
And, if you are attending the Western RCAC Symposium this Thursday in London, drop by and meet Brian. He’s presenting in the morning about how he introduces his students to coding. Maybe we’ll find out that his students actually wrote this?