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My three favorite playlist tools

I’ve blogged about them individually before, but this feels like the beginning of a genre of teaching tools.

A newish subgenre of curation tools–the playlist–allows us to carefully select, annotate, and sequence all types of media resources for learning.

I tell my students that loose-leaf notebooks no longer cut it as containers for research.   Reading lists no longer cut it as containers for learning.

A traditional reading list cannot capture the kind of stuff I need for my high school or graduate teaching.  It cannot do much to help my teacher colleagues flip their classrooms.

We need to be able to remix and sequence all sorts of learning artifacts regardless of their platform or media.  We need to be able to easily mash video, maps, slideshows, ebooks, pdfs, docs, images, blogs, podcasts, surveys.  And I want to collaborate, because we can.

So lately, I’ve been pulling together and helping others pull together what I’ve come to think of as instructional media playlists.  With these playlists, learners spend less time digging up the stuff we want them to discover and more time interacting with the stuff we want them to think about and learn.

Sometimes I assign these media playlists to view/play/read as homework. Sometimes I use them as presentation tools. Sometimes I ask my students to use them as presentation tools.  Sometimes I use them as a knowledge management tool to curate content for myself.

They have similar features–handy bookmarklets, easy drag and drop, sharing features, space for annotation, tags,  generous, searchable communities–but each has its own look, feel and a few special features.

Let’s take a look at my current favorite instructional playlist tools.

MentorMob offers a community of media-rich, sequenced leanring playlists.  (Maybe they used the word first, but it’s a real good one.)  Playlists appear as horizontal panels with arrows in a few pretty color options. I’ve been using these successfully with my grad classes.  MentorMob playlists are now used by a growing number of our high school teachers, embedded on their Moodles and wikis.  (See my MentorMob post and a recent post by Gwyneth Jones.)  I am quite happy using my free account, but upgraded accounts offer enhanced privacy, engagement metrics, and quiz result features.

Here’s my playlist on credibility.

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Here is Susan Oxnevad’s playlist on ideas for MentorMob in the classroom:

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob! allows you to collect Learnings  to create and share vertically sequenced Learning Boards.

Here’s a Learning Board, comprised of a variety of Learnings on how to use  Note that now offers iPad and iPhone apps.

Here’s a learning board featuring the types of learnings you might embed on your own boards.

Edcanvas, was designed to allow teachers to create and deliver lessons digitally.   Teachers may set up classes and use or add to the canvases of other teachers.  Teachers build canvases by dragging, dropping, organizing, and by adding labels, and text content.  Content may be added when searching within the platform itself.  Canvases allow for text and voice comments.  They may also choose among a variety of template layouts and colors themes.  Canvases may be printed with handy QR codes.  Use of canvases may be tracked.  Search the Gallery for examples.  (See my EdCanvas post.)

EdCanvas recently launched student tracking features to see how students respond to (or if they experienced) what you create.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Joyce,WOW! Thanks so much for mentioning my MentorMob blog posting! I know you showed me MentorMob a long while back, (hey, you share such a bevy of cool stuff it would take a lifetime to try them all!) but I’m so glad I found time to play with and fall in love with MentorMob! It really is cool!
    I’m sure I’ll also check out and EdCanvas, too! It just might take me another year or so! LOL
    Srsly, I always discover new things reading your award winning blog!
    Cheers & much love!


  1. […] just that. The SIGMS library playground was filled with examples of librarians sharing tools like Mentor Mob, LibGuides, and apps for visual design. Poster sessions like Rachel Wooten’s “Podcasting in the […]

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