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Quicklyst: Note taking web app created by student

What it is: Senior in high school Shantanu Bala emailed me yesterday with a link to a new web application he built called Quicklyst. Quicklyst is a web application for note taking. Shantanu created Quicklyst to make taking and studying notes easier.  Quicklyst makes it easy to take notes, deliver notes to a Kindle device, look up topics in Wikipedia, and define words within notes automatically using the Merriam Webster Dictionary.  It is free and easy to use from any web connected computer. Students can quickly organize their notes into study guides and even create a study queue for important notes.  Notes can be searched by topic or subject.  Quicklysts can be delivered to a Kindle, printed, or downloaded as text files.  There is no need to register to create a Quicklyst, to save a Quicklyst, students will need to create a username (could be email address but doesn’t have to be) and password. While students take notes, they can instantly include definitions and search information in their notes.  Type a question mark followed by the word you want searched and Quicklyst will automatically add information from Wikipedia and DuckDuckGo. Type a colon followed by the word you want defined and Quicklyst will automatically insert the definition into the notes. Students can click on the + sign next to their notes to add the notes to their Study Queue.  The study queue is a place for students to save notes that they want to reference and study later. How to integrate Quicklyst into the classroom: Quicklyst is a great addition to any student (or teacher) tool box. It makes note taking a breeze, quickly importing definitions and search information into the notes. In a one to one setting (where every student has access to a computer) Quicklyst could be used by students to take notes during discussion, lecture, or any type of whole class learning activity.  In the one or two computer classroom, Quicklyst could be assigned as a student job in your classroom. During the class, the student assigned can take notes that can later be downloaded and sent to students, or printed as a study guide.  The class job should be rotated so that each student has an opportunity to be class recorder. Quicklyst is also excellent for teachers taking notes in staff meetings, professional development, or conferences.  It is such a simple tool to use and has just the right amount of extras (instant definitions) to make it really useful! Use Quicklyst with younger students to create KWL (know, want to know, learn) type notes with students.  Using a projector-connected computer, interactive whiteboard, or classroom computer, students can begin the chart and fill it in as they learn more.  The simple built in search and definition make it ideal for this type of use. Tips: Quicklyst is a fantastic example of student innovation, it once again begs the question are we providing opportunities for this kind of creativity in schools?  Shantanu created Quicklyst in his free time for fun, amazing! I asked Shantuanu where the idea for Quicklyst came about and how he learned how to program, here is his response: Mainly, notes were something I always had a problem with. I’d either lose them or forget them, or just use a textbook since my notes weren’t very good. Although my school doesn’t have laptops for every student, schools are slowly getting more and more computers for use directly in the classroom. I realized it might be interesting to create something that stores a person’s notes online and allows a person to search his or her notes easily. That solved my first problem of losing and forgetting my notes. But there was one thing I found missing when looking through some of my notes: structure. I’d try to continue my notes chronologically, but sometimes there’s a gap when a teacher stops teaching one subject and jumps to something else that’s more urgent. Other times, I’d miss a lesson, and I’d forget to copy someone else’s notes. On a computer, this process is much easier, and copying/moving things around can happen in a couple seconds. I also realized that notes feel very disconnected — there’s a wealth of information available online, and there’s only so much a teacher can fit into a class period that’s less than an hour. Providing that information to a student while they take their notes in class seems like the right direction. It encourages active learning by allowing a student to ask a lot of questions and find answers themselves. Part of the reason I am really excited about the amount of information available online (and the quality of the information) is because I was able to teach myself how to code in the 6th grade. I just followed some tutorials online, and whenever I was confused I just asked a question on a forum and I’d get an answer pretty quickly. There are a ton of people who write excellent materials and answer questions completely in their free time. It’s really amazing. Once I got into high school, I found out that I could get credit by taking some community college courses in programming, so I took Java and C++ classes. But my favorite programming language is really the one I learned first — Python. Thank you Shantanu for creating such a useful application and sharing it with all of us! Leave a comment and share how you are using Quicklyst in your classroom.

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World Education Games: Registration Now Open!

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Foreign Language, Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 01-02-2013

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What it is:   Holy cow, I am SO excited!  Today registration is open for World Education Games!!  If your students have never participated with World Education Games (like World Math Day), this is the year.  They will thank you for including them in this fun world wide contest.  February 1st, that’s today, registration is open and the official warm-up training period for students begins.  On March 5h students can participate in World Literacy Day, March 6 is World Math Day, and March 7 is World Science Day.  March 22nd Global award presentations begin with the Official World Education Games Awards.  The World Education Games is an annual global online olympics to get students from age 4 to 18 excited about learning.  The fun comes in the friendly competition between countries as students compete to represent their country in the games.  There are 3 days of games focused on literacy, math and science.  The games are a great way to help students in speed, accuracy and general fluency in core computation, number and spelling skills.  World Science Day has been designed to encourage curiosity and excitement in science while helping them answer knowledge, application and reasoning questions.  Each game (a competition against other students from around the world) lasts just 1 minute.  Students can go head to head as often as they would like, but only the first 50 games are counted toward the competition point tally.  World Math Day was launched in 2007 and my students have taken part in this fun competition each year.  Since then, Literacy and Science day has been added to the games.  SO much fun!

How to integrate World Education Games into the classroom: World Education Games are such a fantastic way to encourage students to practice foundational skills.  In the past, I have hosted an “opening ceremonies” at my school and done it up like the Olympics with flags, songs, etc.  We go over what the World Education Games are and then make a big deal about the handing out of usernames/passwords (like lighting the torch) and then we kick off our training portion.  Students get excited about participating in this fun day and we get lots of “training” in before the big day.  On the actual day, we wear red, white and blue and play against kids from around the world.  This is great fun in a one-to-one setting or a computer lab where all students can participate simultaneously.  Don’t have that option?  Because the games are 1 minute long, students can play 5 games each on classroom computers in a rotation.

Since your students are competing against students from around the world, why not use the competition to practice using a map and identifying countries?  Since we have a one to one iPad program, we do this digitally with a Google Map.  Each time a student competed against a country, they would come up to the board and put a “pin” in the map.  Don’t have devices for each student? Use an interactive whiteboard or the paper map and actual pins on a class bulletin board, these options are just as fun!

Don’t forget closing ceremonies at the end of World Education Games.  Make up fun medals and give them out to top performers, hardest trainers, etc.  Think outside the box on these.  Not all kids are speedy in their fact recall…find a way to honor their participation and hard work…did they see huge improvement or growth? Honor those achievements!

The World Education Games are available for free on any internet-connected computer and as a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10 app.

Check out the Resource page for teacher and student guide, a world map, a poster, and for School-in-a-box information.

Tips: Schools participating in the World Education Games can also work toward giving other children the opportunity to start school.  World Education Games has partnered with UNICEF to make this happen.  During the games, host a fundraiser to purchase “School-in-a-Box” Each $236 donation is enough to send 80 kids to school!  What a great way to help kids understand what a privilege education is and model compassion and empathy for others.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using World Education Games in your classroom.

Comments (1)

We love the World Education Games. One of the most exciting parts for the students is getting to play against other people around the world. I love the fact that the training seems to help them build skills quickly. I assign it as our homework and it becomes a rotation in the room for when kids finish work quickly. We do a Math-a-thon on World Math Day. It usually falls on our Early Release Day so we stay after school and allow the kids to keep on playing. We provide snacks and play motivational music. This way we can ensure students who might not have technology at home can complete the challenge. We also celebrate with awards for our students and recognize them at our school assembly. So far, it has been mostly our 4th and 5th graders competing, but this year I am trying to get everyone else on board.

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