321 Learning: Word of the Week & History Lessons

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Teacher Overview

This web-based application has a ‘word of the week’ section that contains four words which have a video presentation for each. The video presentations are similar to the famous RSA animated ‘TedTalks’ of Ken Robinson. Each word has a story which is both commentated on and animated by an illustrator during the commentary, this helps identify its definition in the context of everyday use. The videos are brief, under a minute, and suggestions of how these can be incorporated into lessons are provided.

Teacher Review

The application is easily accessible because it is web-based and only requires a free registration to access the “Word of the Week” section. This also means that the programme can be used on a number of different devices across different operating systems, helpful for both the end user and the developer. The web landing page is bright and colourful, which is immediately engaging, I particularly like the yellow submarine, but think this is more an indication of my age. The brief introductory text is packed full of ‘education speak’ which is sure to engage the committed teacher straightaway. Scrolling down reveals the selling point of the app which is simply illustrated and develops the theme that 30 to 40% of children are ‘Visual Learners’ 20 to 30% are ‘Auditory Learners’ and 30 to 50% are ‘Hands-on Learners’. Further scrolling displays an embedded short video, three minutes, that explains in full the reasoning and practice of ‘Word of the Week’. This clear and precise video will encourage you to register and begin using the programme. 
 
If you are still not convinced and want a bit more information you can click on the ‘Word of the Week’ tab and view two further videos one of which is a short version of one of the words in this case ‘facetious’, the second video is a very helpful guide that helps you understand the process. 
 
Once registered you can go straight to the “Word of the Week” tab and follow the instructions. Simply click on the ‘Animations’ button and choose one of the words and the embedded one-minute video will introduce the meaning of the word in context. Each video follows the same generic path. The word is written then the commentator spells the word out, then the word is categorised as one of a noun, verb, adjective or adverb. The word is then introduced into a story which is illustrated as the commentator speaks, then the commentator writes out the definition. The video then returns to the illustrated story to get the learner to embed the definition with the story and then the final scene is the definition of the word again, all this within one minute. 
 
Once the video has finished playing the user can return to the main “Word of the Week” screen and press the “Activity Guides”; listed on this screen are a choice of seven short, ten minute, lesson plans, these are all generically divided into the same headings: ‘Activity Description’, ‘Example Sentence’, ‘Implementation Steps’, and ’Differentiation’ which includes enrichment. 
 
Overall, this app is excellent, all the ingredients are in place to make planning a minilesson much easier. The quality and thought that have gone into producing each video is outstanding. I would thoroughly recommend this app in a teacher toolkit. This is a developer to watch, they are at the start of a journey that I am sure will prove successful, they will have to find out the best revenue stream to ensure that it can become sustainable in order for them to grow and reach an important sector of
the market.

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Inside the app

  • 321 Learning: Word of the Week & History Lessons-1321 Learning: Word of the Week & History Lessons-2321 Learning: Word of the Week & History Lessons-3321 Learning: Word of the Week & History Lessons-4321 Learning: Word of the Week & History Lessons-5

From the Developer

321 Learning is bringing fun back to learning through creative storytelling and captivating Whiteboard Animations. Our short visual, aural, and kinesthetic video vignettes promote information processing, comprehension and retention in a vast array of subjects.
 
321 Learning's educational programs are fun and engaging – but more importantly, they really work! According to a 2013 University of Nevada study, animations provide support for internal visual–spatial processing, such as letter formation and spelling.
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