Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Beta Testing for Belouga

Last week, my 21st Century Literacy class was introduced to a really cool social media platform (never thought I'd ever say such a thing) called Belouga. It's designed to connect students from around the world and to share differences.
                 
                                     

Students start by answering questions in 25 different categories: cuisine, culture, environment, family, history, interests, and school. These questions work as a starting place for understanding. Once students have answered 25 questions, they get access to the Pods area of the site. Each student gets paired with a student from another class when the teacher connects with a class. The student can then see the answers of the other students in their pod and comment to start discussions.

The site is filled with simple but beautiful graphics.

However, communication isn't the only offering of this platform. Each time you communicate, you earn points. Once the entire community earns enough points, they can choose to give a school in need a gift.

How is anyone supposed to choose between these‽

I think it's important for students around the world to connect. We're fortunate enough to live in a time when we can actually communicate with people to learn about differences around the world instead of having to read to learn. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like many people use this opportunity, though I may be wrong about that. This makes sense as it can be hard to find a way to find people you don't know that live elsewhere to talk to about culture and such. This platform solves that by making it easy for students to connect.


It's also interesting that this is something that is clearly meant for classrooms. A way I can see this being used, especially in higher grades, is as a break of sort during work periods or days with a lot of content to learn. It's a low-key educational kind of task. You're learning but it's fun and doesn't take too much mental effort. It's even set up in a way that's good for short bursts.

The point and reward system is icing on the cake. From what I can tell, it seems that the educators at the selected schools chose what they would like as a reward. This leads to some very interesting choices, such as the archery sets for the school in Pakistan.

Overall, this seems like a great platform and I look forward to seeing it grow after the full release.

2 comments:

  1. This sounds really interesting. I like how you incorporated visual aspects to both make it more eye catching while also allowing for a better understanding by the reader. Your writing was also really well done, you did an excellent job of including all the logistics of the site while making for an interesting read.

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  2. I agree with you that it is a really good idea for a social media platform. It is good for people to learn about other people's cultures so they can be more aware of what is happening in the world. I thought that is was very interesting that you added photos to your blog so that others can see what you are talking about. Maybe next time go a little bit more into detail about the gifts to the schools.

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