What it is: Wow, I just spent two hours playing on and reviewing this site and could have spent the rest of my day here! iKnow Social Learning is a social networking study tool created by Cerego in Japan. The site brings social networking to studying and learning in a really inventive way. Students (or you) sign up and are asked what languages you know, and what languages you want to learn. Then you are led through a short questionnaire about your interests. Study recommendations are made based on the questionnaire. Courses are available to enroll in (all free) to help you study and learn. The courses are created by Cerego and its partners or by other users. After logging in and filling out the introductory information, you are taken to a personal homepage. The homepage shows courses that you are enrolled in, your profile, friends, progress, a message center, and any items created by you. Courses are personalized language learning tools. Courses are geared for learning English and Japanese with more languages coming soon. Current English courses created by Cerego include vocabulary development, and SAT study prep. Courses created by users include everything from introduction to binary to the first presidential debate speech. There are three modes of study options for each course. The iKnow study section says the word aloud, gives the definition, and part of speech (if applicable to the course) and then uses the word in a sentence, and gives students the opportunity to practice spelling the word. After the study session, students are quizzed on the vocabulary. The next study section is called Dictation. In this section a sentence using the vocabulary is said aloud, students type the sentence (using correct spelling) as it is said. This is great for memorization, spelling, and those typing skills. The last study section is called Flash Study and provides students with a beat the clock type game to improve speed and accuracy. The current provided courses are appropriate for intermediate English language learners, and high school and college students. However, iKnow allows for users to create courses (called lists). With the ability to create lists, the iKnow study site could be used as early as second or third grade and up. As a teacher, you can create lists for your students to study based on your curriculum. The lists are very simple to create and you can attach sound, video, and images from Flickr Creative Commons (integrated) or upload your own images. Students have access to all courses they have enrolled in, an online journal, and their study results. Each course shows who created the course or list, the level of study, the number of items to learn in the course, the recommended length of study, and the privacy setting on the course. After a student enrolls in the course, their progress is tracked to provide students with exactly the practice they need. iKnow has the capability of connecting and integrating with other social networking platforms like Twitter, Skype, Delicious and Facebook (and a substantial list of others!) The high school, college, and professional age group will appreciate the integration capabilities. As you can tell by the length of this post, I am extraordinarily impressed with this site and the study options it opens up for students (and teachers!).
How to integrate iKnow Social Learning into the classroom: iKnow Social Learning is the best study tool I have seen in a while! I love the way that it encourages students to study together, challenge each other, and create solid study habits. iKnow Social Learning is an amazing way to learn and taps into multiple learning styles with each study session. Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners will all benefit from this site! Because teachers can create lists (courses) of study, you can create interactive study guides for your students based on your curriculum. The current courses on iKnow Social Learning are too difficult for the elementary and middle school crowd. I created a list of my own for third grade vocabulary, it was simple to put together and students would benefit from the properly leveled guide. Younger students may not use the social aspect of the site as much, but the study options would be perfect for creating and setting up on a classroom computer, as a center or to use with students in a computer lab setting, or even just to suggest for home use. The layout of the study sessions makes it ideal for vocabulary words, math vocabulary (or expanded notation), history facts, spelling practice, learning a foreign language, and science vocabulary. I think that iKnow Social Learning would also be a great place for PLN (professional learning networks) to challenge each other, collaborate, and learn. Personally, I think with this setup I could know Italian by Christmas 🙂 This is a really incredible tool, I can’t say enough about it!
Tips: Right now the language options for iKnow are English and Japanese but Cerego has just opened up development for 188 additional languages, many more language options will be available shortly. Sign up for an account today (you can even sign in with your Google or Yahoo account) to check out my course called 3rd Grade Vocabulary. You can also add me as a friend: ktenkely. My warning to you, this is addictive learning!
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using iKnow Social Learning in your classroom.