Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pearltrees for teachers

Year 2012 last post is a guest post from Finnish teacher Tommi Viljakainen. He is a teacher in Elimäki lower and upper secondary school. He teaches English, French and P.E. He is also interested in social media, iPad and the future of education. 

You can find Tommi also in Twitter under name @tommivilja

A (Finnish) teacher's dive into social media - "I discovered pearls in Pearltrees!"

Tips for teachers

This time I thought I could write about Pearltrees from a teacher's perspective. I started to use the web curation tool Pearltrees during my autumn holiday (in 2012) and I'm still amazed by the possibilities it has to offer.

It was the head teacher of our upper secondary school Kari Rajala who first introduced me to social media. I started using Facebook and soon got friends from my fellow teachers. In a week, I was already in Twitter following all kinds of discussions and weaving my personal learning network. The next thing I did was to write a blog post about BrainPOP (an iPad app) with Blogger. I also embedded a Youtube video to our project blog Mobiluck. As I saw it, I had seen all but one of the "Big Five" of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogger, what next?).

Inspired by Timo Ilomäki and other tweeters' prolific use of,  I decided next to explore the world of curation. A French tweet led me to a review of several curation tools (Delicious, Diigo,, Pinterest, etc). I noticed that one of the tools, Pearltrees, had a special feature 'collaborative' which lacked from the others. After using Pearltrees for a while I could clearly see its functionality and the possibilities it had to offer in "cultivating" learning.

So, how did Pearltrees win me over? First of all, I have to say that Pearltrees is very well designed and it looks elegant and stylish. But the best thing about Pearltrees is that it is simple and easy to use. When I move the 'pearls' around my iPad it feels very natural and intuitive (mind you, Pearltrees is also available for iPhone, Mac and PC). The pearls can contain URLsphotos or notes.

To sign up to Pearltrees all you need is an email address. You can also sign up with Facebook or Twitter accounts. As you make your pearltree grow, you'll find out that people are taking (= copying) your pearls. Are they interested in the same things as you? Next, it is your turn to explore their collections.

You can search for "similar pearltrees" anywhere in the program. As you push the button, a map of similar pearltrees starts to form around you. Browsing through the pearls is easy with the screenshot image and the text of the website immediately at hand. The "searchtool allows you to look for pearltrees that have a specific theme or a subject. In fact, you can search for pearltrees, people or even make an inside search in your own account. So, there is no need for tagging anymore!

In essence, Pearltrees allows the user to make a personal collection of the internet and structure it at one's own will (mind mapping). The contents are presented as little "pearls" and to position and organize them you need logic thinking and a continual analysis of meanings. This "semantic web" is powered by people (as opposed to web 3.0?).

Today there has been a lot of discussion about personal learning networks (PLNs) and that teachers, as professionals, should embrace the global society by using social media. With Pearltrees this is not a problem. Shared interests bring people to each others' pearltrees to pick up the best "pearls". It doesn't matter what nationality, religion, sex, age or looks you have, a shared interest is all you need to make a connection.

10 tips for teachers:

1. Make Pearltrees your own professional digital library. (on-line tools, everything at hand)

2. Pay attention to the people that take your pearls. It is likely that they are interested in the same things as you are (shared interests)

3. Create your own PLN by using social media: Pearltrees, Twitter, Facebook (Personal Learning Network)

4. Are you interested in peer learning? With Pearltrees, you are always learning from others. As a teacher, you get inspiration from others and new ideas to enhance learning.

5. Are you familiar with the constructivist learning theory? In Pearltrees, new knowledge is always built in connection with the old one. The reshaping of pearltrees arise new meanings in an ever-changing context. (mind mapping, tree structure)

6. Do you think that learning should be about the real world? With Pearltrees you can connect everything you want from the (digital) world to your pearltrees. (connecting school life to real life)

7. Is it important for you to know your sources? How about stopping plagiarism? You can connect everything to Pearltrees: from production / presentation to sources / resources (source criticism)

8. Would you like to work together with another professional and build a common pearltree? Team up! (collaborative approach)

9. Create a pearltree for a class or a group and make it grow together. All the materials are available at one address. This is also a great opportunity for the teacher to learn from the students. (pedagogical use of Pearltrees)

10. Try the paid version Pearltrees Premium to make your pearltrees secret and to control sharing and confidentiality. You might also want to link in your secret Youtube teaching videos there. (controlling privacy)

The new social media tools make it possible for us to take the learning to the next level. Let's seize the day! (social media, learning in the digital age)


The program:


Pearltrees app (iPad, iPhone)

Me and Pearltrees:

My blog writings (in Finnish)

My pearltree

Articles about Pearltrees:

Pearltrees makes Web curation a joy with its 'magical' new iPad app

Stylish Web curation service Pearltrees launches a premium offering for private content sharing

Pearltrees in Wikipedia:

Videos about Pearltrees:

Exclusive first look: Pearltrees iPad app enables new kind of content curation

What's The Role Of Curation In Search?

Web curation / content curation:

Building Thought Leadership through Content Curation

Content Curation for Teachers

Science and Curation: the New Practice of Web 2.0

Why Curation Will Transform Education and Learning: 10 Key Reasons

Comparatif de 12 solutions de curation

Semantic web, Web 3.0:

Content Curation by people not Ai

Curation - The Third Web Frontier

Learning 3.0 and the Smart eXtended Web

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Haiku Deck for iPad

My favorite presentation app for iPad is Haiku Deck. Its free, easy to use, and find images to presentations which metaphorically makes your text and message stronger. I made a quick tutorial with help of Disp Recorder app

Haiku Deck for iPad

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Future of Augmented Reality Scoopit

One future topic in our iPads in high school project is a use of Augmented Reality apps with iPad. Scoopit is a great way to start collecting resources for teachers in this project. I will post some results later on. 

One of my project resources: Future of Augmented Reality

Monday, October 15, 2012

iPad screencasting with Disp Recorder

Disp Recorder
Flipped classroom pedagogy use video as important learning tool and that is why teachers need to know good tools to make interesting video tutorials. I posted earlier large screencasting tool post Screencasting for teachers .

iPads are different story. There are some good apps allready like in this link  iPad Screencasting Apps by Jonathan Wylie. There is also one app which allow to capture iPad screen, app called  Disp Recorder

It took couple of updates to work well and it should for prize 9,99$. 

iPad screencasting app Disp Recorder

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dropbox resources for teachers

In Voionmaa high school we use Dropbox in many ways.  Teachers have their own account for sharing files, some teachers also share files with each other. Every teacher has also iPad and Dropbox is a useful tool for iPad users. That is why also many of our students have accounts to share all videos and images from iPad image file.  

Links for more: 
20+ Tools To Supercharde You Dropbox
The ultimate Dropbox toolkit guide
Dropbox a multi tool for educators
62 things you can do with Dropbox
10 tools for getting most from Dropbox
10+ apps for Dropbox
Facebook groups adds Dropbox integration
The Complete Dropbox for Educators by Jeffrey Thomas

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why I use TweetDeck?

I have made couple of TweetDeck post before: 

TweetDeck & 100s of Twitter tools for Teachers and  All Features of Tweetdeck part 2 so this one must be the last part of TweetDeck trilogy. Here is a short tutorial explaining why I like to use TweetDeck. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Experimental Physics and iPads

In Voionmaa high school, Jyväskylä, Finland,  physics class groups had task to find out with pen laser the wavelength of light. Group made a paper report and whole measuring was documented with iPad. Teacher has easier job to evaluate group later on from iPad videos. 

At this first time they didnt  edit videos with iMovie, it was just document of group work. Teacher Sirpa Suontausta said, that watching those videos was really fun and she could easily evaluate group work. I followed at corridor group work  and it was class of physics, fun and action. 

iPad development is part of six high school project using iPads in high school sport training, classrooms  and team work. Project is funded by  Finnish National Board of Education,  learning environment development programs.

If you are interested about iPads in education, follow hashtag #ifinnpad

see you, @ilotimo

Example of Experimental Physics (in Finnish, girls speak about measuring distance of numbers,  wavelength of light but sadly im not physics teacher:), so no translation, but you can learn our easy and beautiful language) 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

QR codes, iPads and sports in high school

In Voionmaa high school, Finland, Jyväskylä,  was tested use of QR codes and iPads help of better gym training. Our sport teacher and ice hockey trainer Mika Lievonen made five weight training videos  which was linked with QR codes. We added codes in each gym equipment so our sport high school students can watch  example of good performance before training.  

Voionmaa sport high school student Orash Schmidt read codes with iPad.

Next year we have plans to use QR codes in every sport, gaming and geography. These tests related on six high school project using iPads in high school sport training, classrooms  and team work. Project is funded by  Finnish National Board of Education,  learning environment development programs.

If you are interested about iPads in education, follow hashtag #ifinnpad

One example video by Mika Lievonen (In Finnish, but body language is enough:))  

Monday, June 4, 2012

iPads and Blogger in French language project

This spring in Voionmaa high school, Jyväskylä, Finland our students used iPads ja Blogger blog in French language learning project. Group started blog with Spanish French learning study group. With iPad  Blogger apps they made blog posts and shoot videos. Good to learn languages in real projects. Thanks for our students and have great vacation!


Video greetings!. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Using iPads in Voionmaa High School

Using iPads in Voionmaa high school based on system, where iPads are in Leba iPad  case. We have 30 ipads in our school and whole 6 school network about 150. We share our experiences daily in Facebook and in blog. With Leba case its easy and quick to synchronize all 30 at the same time. 

We also want to give our teachers as much time to use iPads as possible. Two cases are in my office and teachers can take iPad home after school, weekends and holidays like today, when winter holiday starts. In school morning iPads are available to use in classroom.

Our school main focus in this project are iPads using in sports and by athletes. In classroom use its up to teacher how iPads are used, but our school make short time use on hour to one week, some other schools give iPads for 2 months. We can make same  a comparative study of our experiences.

 In January and February iPads used in Comenius trips in Turkey and in CERN. Our athletes practice in Spain in May and they use iPad in those kind of sport camps. 

This video was in earlier iPad post, but once again make no harm, if someone has miss that

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to make a screencast with Screencast-O-Matic

I my last post Screencasting for Teachers i shared some screencasting tools and links and also want to force myself to do my first screencasts. Yesterday i did Twitter tutorial to my Finnish colleagues in Finnish language with Screencast-o-Matic.
It was simple and quick tool, perfect for me. I use only one take, give some live feeling to presentation. 

How to make a screencast with Screencast-O-Matic

Saturday, February 11, 2012! for Teachers! has been around for a while, but just recently i started my own! and i must say, it has been a good way to collect the best tweets on one topic and share them.Teacher could also collect good links example geography or history class for students or you can create! for whole class.
You can also follow easily other Scoop.its.  

My Scoops:
Education Technology - theory & practice 
iPads in High School
and one for my Finnish colleagues:

Tutorial by Russel Stannard: 

To get started, check this great video tutorial:! tutorial: teachertrainingvideos by Russel Stannard 
That is all you need! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Animoto - Walk in White Silence

My first Animoto for Teachers post gave some basic information how to use Animoto. Since that i have been using Animoto many times and it is great tool to make emotional videos and thats why it is great for classroom use with students. They can share example their meaningful moments with easy and quick Animoto video. In one class you can take photos and produce a video. 

My moment in our neighbourhood forest, really cold, almost - 30 but so beautiful

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

iPads in Sport High School

Im really proud to start sharing our results from our new project: iPads in 6 Finnish High Schools. I work in Sport High School and we want that our athletes could benefit from iPads in their practice, 3 times a week during school day. Our sport teachers have been really inspired and use iPad every day in different sports. 

Check our first video, some word of experience, lot more to see after this during this spring. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Google+ & Hangout for Educators

One of year 2012 technology promise to my self was to activate in using  Google+. After using Twitter actively was easy to find great educators around the world in my circles. Google+ is a professional network for me just like Twitter. Google Hangout is also great feature which we use in our online meetings. 
Livebinders: Googleplus for Educators
Cybrarymans Googleplus page
Mashable Google+: The Complete Guide

How to use Google+ Tutorial (Basics) 
by (tbonepearson Travis Gordon)

Peter G McDermott:

How to Use Google+ Hangouts (A Beginners' Guide)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Vimeo for educators

In year 2012 I am going to focus on different video services and screencasting possibilities. 
First there is Vimeo

"Vimeo is the home for videos you create." (

What is the Basic use of VimeoYou can upload and share your videos, connect with community, explore videos in different categories, and learn how to make videos in Vimeo Video school

About month ago i made my first Vimeo uploading. Making a video took about 10 minutes and sign in and uploading about 15 minutes, so its easy and quick.  It easy to embed to your blog like Youtube videos.  

Speech about Finnish education system in Teachmeet event in Holywell High School in Wales

Finnish education system by Timo Ilomäki from Timo Ilomäki on Vimeo.