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Wakelet. Cause Mary is a genius.

I’ve always known that Mary F. is smart. She’s been a K-12 teacher, a technology coach, and a college instructor. She’s leading the way with our year-long tech integration study group. And I’m pretty sure she had a side gig consulting with Google as they’re struggled with the new Gmail rollout.

And last Friday . . . smartness confirmed. She shared a new tool that I had never heard of before.

Wakelet.

And it’s very cool. Turns out a ton of people are using Wakelet to deal with the imminent death of Storify. But as Mary and I started chatting, we began to realize that there is a lot of power in Wakelet beyond just a way to capture Twitter chats.

Basically Wakelet is a free digital collecting, storing, curating tool. The resulting collection of collected, stored, and curated links can be private, semi-private, or public. You can search for Twitter hashtags, Twitter people, upload your own photos or use their dataset of photos, you can add text, and copy / paste website links directly into your Wakelet collections. You can also invite others to help you edit your collections, making them collaborative and constantly editable.

These collections can then be shared in a variety of ways including embedded on other websites, via short links, and various social media.

So over the weekend, I started playing around a bit and developed a very quick collection titled Engaging Activities for MS Social Studies. Take a quick peek and you’ll start to see what the end result can look like. I used this collection to quickly share some tools with a group if middle school teachers in Independence. (And since I had forgotten the hard copy version back on my breakfast table, it was a livesaver.)

The embedded version over at Social Studies Central gives you an idea of what it can look as part of your personal or school website.

This should all start your brain spinning just a bit. You could use Wakelet as lots of others have done – a quick way to capture Twitter chats and class conversations. You can get an idea of this over at the #sschat site – they’re using Wakelet for archiving their weekly chats.

Or this collection I quickly created highlighting the #ksleg hashtag documenting the goings on over in Topeka as our state legislature starts wrapping up their last few days of the session.

Which is all pretty cool. But crank the brain a bit harder and other things start to fall out.

Sure. Use it to share resources with your kids. But how about having kids – alone or in groups – collect and organize their own resources? How about have kids analyze the collections of other groups, making peer review suggestions? You could drop in 20 primary sources and ask kids to create their own collection using those 20 sources but they can only pick 10, with annotated reasons why their 10 are the most important.

Photo writing prompts. Argumentative essays. Compare and contrast of photographs. Evaluations of different news sources covering the same story. What about having kids use Wakelet to collect daily current events using specific hashtags and Twitter users? I’m pretty sure we could go on for a while with this. It just seems like a very handy little gadget to have hooked in my tool belt.

And it’s pretty much drop dead simple. Sign up can be single sign on using your school or personal Google account, same with your kids. You can also use the standard email and password route. Once you’re in, start a new collection. Give it a name. Add some cover art.

Copy and paste URLs into the “Add a link” line or click on the green circles to add content from Twitter users / hashtags, photos, links from your saved items (more on that in a minute,) or type in your own text.

Once an item has been added, you can edit, adding your own text and specific item cover photo. You can also move it by dragging and dropping. Or delete it.

You also have the ability to create a massive set of what Wakelet calls your Saved Items.

You can copy and paste links into the URL box there. This creates a generic collection that you can use to create smaller collections. But that’s just way too much work. The best thing to do with this is to add the Wakelet Google Chrome browser extension. Clicking the extension button will automatically add the website you’re visiting to your Saved Items or directly into any of your collections. Easy peasy.

Like I said. Mary’s a genius.

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