Saturday, April 5, 2014

#BanishBoredomTour Coming to Curtis!

We are so excited to have recently been selected as a stop on Wandoo Planet's  #BanishBoredomTour! Wandoo Planet will be at Curtis Elementary on Monday, April 14th to get students started using this interest-driven website!

A while back, I received an email asking Curtis students to Beta test Wandoo Planet. A great description can be found here: What Is Wandoo Planet? Our afterschool media club, The Digital Bookworms explored the site, and even talked with our friends, the Technical Difficulties Club at Van Meter, about it. Then last week, the Digital Bookworms Skyped with Lindsey Hill from Evanced Solutions, the company  behind Wandoo Planet.

Wandoo Planet is the world's first kid-powered interest genome project!

Think Pandora, Spotify, or Netflix with a twist. It's a new software platform that empowers children to discover their keenest interests and find relevant books and other content via a powerful recommendation engine. - from Wandoo Planet Website

The Digital Bookworms had already created accounts and were a little familiar with the concept of the website. During our Skype visit, the students were able to hear the story of how Wandoo Planet came to be, and the purpose. Mrs. Hill shared with the students that she had been a teacher for 14 years before going to work with Evanced Solutions. She explained to them that they had a wonderful opportunity to try out Wandoo Planet and give their feedback to make the site better! Through their use, they were making the program smarter, showing it what students were interested in and what they weren't.

Students were encouraged to spend a few minutes listening to the story in the beginning and then clicking on the "thumbs up" sign for things they were interested in, and clicking on the "thumbs down" sign for things they weren't interested in.

Things they LOVE doing, should be marked with a heart--this will be the beginning of their tree.

One of the options ask if you are looking for a specific book or content related to your interest. Students can then type in a title of a book and get the information for it.

The students can also print a list of books and take it to their school or public library, or even to a book store, to find books based on their interest. One thing that I liked about this part was that I could use this to add books of interest to our collection, and the students would have specific books to request instead of just requesting a "drawing book".

The Digital Bookworms spent their entire club time exploring Wandoo Planet. Lindsey shared how important their feedback is, so we created a Google Doc for the students to use to give feedback.  It can be found HERE. Feel free to add your thoughts to it after you use Wandoo Planet. We will give any feedback to the team when they come to visit us in a couple of weeks.
 Being Beta testers for Wandoo Planet has been very empowering for our students. It was great that they were able to ask questions while using the tool, as well as to offer feedback. Lindsey was taking notes as they would share their thoughts. They loved sharing their opinions and being a part of helping Wandoo Planet get even better! 

We can't wait to meet Lindsey, and the whole team, in a couple of weeks, as well as Winston the Owl!  And the great thing is, they are also going to Iowa, to meet our friends at Van Meter! You can read more about that visit on Shannon Miller's Blog! I can't wait for the Digital Bookworms & the Technical Difficulties club to connect in a few weeks and talk about our time with Lindsey, Winston & the whole Wandoo Planet team!

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