Exploratory Learning with Text, Image and Voice Annotations.

Learning is not a tough, consuming exercise that we’re led to believe by schools, teachers and parents. As human beings, we keep learning all the time. Did you remember when you touched a steaming vessel and learned to look for steam?

Did you remember when you touched a steaming vessel and learned to look for steam?

Did you remember when you touched a steaming vessel and learned that it’s hot?

Do you remember cutting yourself with a nail-cutter and learned to be careful?

Learning is a continuous process. We keep learning all the time even when we don’t realize that. Classmint is built for the natural form of learning. i.e. exploratory learning. Classmint annotations help with exploring information and learning from it thru Active Recall as we explore it.

Text and Voice Annotations

Selecting the text inside a note shows a context menu which lets you annotate the text with either more text/images or voice. Here’s how it looks.

Context Menu
Context Menu for Annotations

Once you click that Explain, a complete box appears to help create the annotation.

Create Annotaiton Box
Create Annotations Dialog

Now, It’s possible to create a rich annotation using text, images, links, code-snippet, formula using this dialog box. A learner who is exploring this note can click the annotated text to reveal more information.

Example Text Annotation
Example Text Annotation

Clicking on a text annotation will reveal more information in the form of a dark text dialog, as shown above. A voice annotation will play the recorded voice on click.

Image Annotation

In Classmint study note, one can add an image and annotate it. The process of annotating is a bit different. After inserting the image, one should click on Explain at bottom-right of the image as shown in the image below.

Annotate Images with Explain
Annotate Images with Explain

Once you click on the Explain, you will see the image popping up like below. Now, you can click on it and explain any part of the image with an image annotation.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 2.42.47 PM

The key difference between text and image annotations on Classmint: Text annotations require a click to reveal them and image annotations reveal on hover.

Looking to explore more. If you like/hate the idea, please leave the comments.

Educational Content is like Food!

Educational content is just like food in more ways than you can imagine.

1. Both are enjoyable

Fries

You must have consumed McDonalds fries and felt gratified. Watching a fresh  educational video about a topic of your interest is equally gratifying.

2. People like variety 

McDonalds is great, but it is in no way a replacement of all types of restaurants and variety of food available to us. We will always crave for Chinese, French and Mexican food. We will also desire different types of specialty restaurants.

3.  Local is an important factor.

If I’m in Punjab, Punjabi food will be a good choice. If I’m in Bangalore, I’d prefer idlis.

South Indian Idlis

Every place has a popular educational institute which speaks their language. Things are explained better using a local context. People can understand better from a local trainer than from a foreigner.

4. It’s good when it’s fresh and out of the oven.

Rotis

As an Indian kid, I demanded freshly backed Rotis at home. No one would prefer a dish that was cooked 4-5 days ago. The content produced now will have a modern context and hence learners can relate them better.

5. Cooks and Instructors are important.

Cooks are available in all types. There are part-timers who cook at the restaurant in day-time and cook for clients in the evening. There are cooks who keep learning new ways to cook food. There are teachers who keep participating in teacher-training. You want to consume from someone who’s good at making it!

6. It’s good when it’s personalized.

Salt and Pepper

I don’t like too much salt in my food. My roomie likes it. My family members like it when spicy while I like it less spicy. Content can be personalized to serve needs of individuals. Educational content is best when personalized to a target audience.

7. It’s better when served on time.

It feels hungry while coming back from Gym. If the breakfast is not yet ready, It feels odd. You like lunch on time and mostly dinner on time. The educational content has to be served on time. Most study material becomes a low priority after exams. Hard topics can be learned early in the morning.