Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Curatr Review

Curatr - Review




I have had sometime (maybe 1 hour) to play with much talked about Curatr ..... first impressions:

1. The so called Gaming Aspect of Curatr. 

It works by collating scores whenever you view a resource and either you like or dislike it (Yes, it's mandatory, you can't move to the next lesson unless you have done this!). I was quite disappointed to find out how scoring worked (I could be wrong).

2. No place for feed on an activity

I have been through a few resources on the account I was given and I couldn't see any place to leave a feedback or to comment on existing content.

3. Content driven - driven both by the teacher and students

Curatr is unfortunately content driven and is limited to Websites, Youtube, Text box (it didn't work for me), Pictures and Audio. This of course assumes that you have created the content before hand and uploaded it to appropriate platform for use. Curatr however allows peers to create or lets say collate contents to help others in class.

4. Difficult user interface

I initially found the user interface difficult to use. I couldn't make out where I was going and what I was meant to be doing or looking at first.

Where's the Pedagogy?

The burning question, what was the pedagogical underpinning for Curatr? You couldn't really say social constructivist .... maybe a beginnings of something bigger to come? The only bit I would say that would very least be called social was creating or collating resources that you found useful for others in class to use. Curatr allows you to create a profile but again it is very basic and you can't see the profiles of others in class. There is very little opportunity to network with other learners in class to discuss collectively and create new meaning and knowledge.

I was left asking .... it is a portal? Is it a basic social bookmarking tool .... I am still a bit confused. It seems the only thing you can do is create a portable (works on iPhone) collection of different digital artifacts that may help you in your learning or peers in some way.

Mobile Front - Comparing to Evernote

Yes Curatr has an iPhone app, so does Evernote. If I was to compare these two applications and it's suitability in learning and teaching, I'd say Evernote would be my choice. The difference I am talking about is huge.

  1. Teacher vs Student content (Curatr allows students to collect content not necessarily their own)
  2. Networking opportunities between the two apps is again a problem. Curatr - hardly any evidence. Evernote - and online profile viewable by others.
  3. mLearning - even though Curatr has an iPhone app, it hardly uses the powerful features the iPhone is equipped with. Evernote on the other hand allows - on spot - audio capture, picture, video and text. Evernote empowers the students, enables them to create content and hence their own meaning from it. It enables students to share with each other what they have done and build collective understanding at the same time supporting each other.
I was expecting more from Curatr. The promotion video and hype that surrounded Curatr before launch of beta painted a totally different picture in my head to what was delivered. The claims around game based learning and the inclusion of what makes games so appealing didn't really work for me. It is not still about scores when playing a game but the challenge that comes your way, constant feedback and helpful hints that pop-up every now and then, creating that safe competitive environment where you can do a single player or a team play, having the ability to choose the level of difficulty to begin playing, the audio, visuals and constant connectedness with your team members (audio and chat if playing multiplayer online game), strategising, immersive environment and finally clever scoring.

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