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MentorMob and me

One of the new tools I discovered at ISTE was MentorMob, a tool for curating and collaborating on learning playlists.

I’ve since been test-driving the heck out of it as I develop the new online course I’ll be adjuncting this fall. Here’s a learning playlist for my Module on credibility.  (I’m going to be eliminating a few of those steps before we start.)

Note: this SLmentormobscreenshot 300x169 MentorMob and meJ software will NOT let me embed, so this is just a screenshot of one of my playlists.

For each of my online modules, MentorMob allows me to create annotated, step-by-step reading/viewing lists that I can easily embed into my course LibGuides.

So, I’ve been able to gather stuff from my desktop and from the web–sites, presentations, videos, images, surveys and articles–and pull them all together in a sequence my students will be able to work through them over the course of a week.

Playlists can be collaborative, tagged for easier discovery, shared with social networks, commented on and rated.  A Firefox extension allows for on-the-fly additions.

MentorMob also allows for the creation of multiple-choice and yes/no quizzes.

I haven’t yet made use of the crowdsourcing options–the real mentoring part–but I know I will use this with groups of high school students as they plan presentations, create research projects, and organize independent learning.

I see great possibilities for using MentorMob either as a portfolio platform or as a component feature of a portfolio.

And I can see it as a handy tool for teachers and students collaborating in flipped classroom environments.

What if we used it as a profession to gather together the best content for advocacy? Author videos? Readings for a conference presentation?

Of course, you don’t have to start everything yourself. Users may also search the MentorMob community to use and contribute to existing learning playlists.

MentorMob was founded with bootstrap funding in 2010 by entrepreneurs Kris Chinosorn (CEE) and Vince Leung (COO), graduates of the University of Illinois.

The folks at MentorMob recently launched MentorMob U, a reasonably-priced premium white label platform for K12 schools, universities and home schoolers that adds features for tracking students’ time and progress, as well as enrollment tools, permissions settings, and deeper privacy options.

According to the press release:

Like MentorMob’s free online community that curates the best online instructional content for anyone to learn any topic, MentorMob U – the private-label, Software-as-a-Service -delivers a Learning Playlist-based user interface that enables students to learn at their own pace through step-by-step instruction and collaboration tools to enable content growth and improvement. In addition to the free version, MentorMob U offers instructors and institutions new capabilities, including a branded, hosted site, enrollment tools and analytics to gauge learning success . . .

It also allows them to set up Learning Playlists within folders for easy access by topic or department.

One of the impressive aspects of the team behind the platform is how eager they are to hear suggestions.  They listened carefully at ISTE and have called me twice since for feedback.  What I’d love to see next is the option of adding open-ended questions and the ability to incorporate slides with text and graphic options to open, close, and create transitions among groups of resources on a playlist.  I’d also love to see text highlighting and narration functions.

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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