Both teachers and students create and share Trails and Requests as a fundamental way to find, share and track relevant resources, ideas, and progress. Plus, parents can also join to stay connected to their student’s and teacher’s experiences.
Trails for Education is an innovative platform to visually curate, find, and share resources, and, in the process, build a community around learning and knowledge. Resources include websites, pdfs, google docs, youtube, vimeo, your uploaded files and pictures, Open Education Resources, and much more – pretty much anything that’s viewable in a web browser.
By connecting people and knowledge, Trails for Education makes learning and teaching easier, more joyful. Use the Trails platform to build a creative, collaborative, learner-centered community with simple & engaging resource maps, public & private groups, threaded discussion, requests, following, and more.
The Trails platform creates a single location to find and share resources for both formal uses, such as curriculum, research, and e-portfolios, and informal aspects of educational culture, such as videos of students at a poetry slam, places to visit on a field trip, TED-ED talks not to miss, and the like.
1. Trails are collections of curated resources, tagged by keywords so interested folks can find and share them. Trails offer a clear sequence and a visualization, including options for color-coding, legends, and 'main' and 'tangent' branches to help you find your way.
2. Requests are just questions to the community at large, tagged by keywords so interested folks can provide answers, which can take the form of a simple comment, an uploaded resource, a link to a website or other online resource, a specific “node” in a Trail, or, of course, a link to a Trail.
3. Community is the connected and active learners, educators and parents using your Trails platform. Teachers follow their students, students follow their teachers, students follow fellow students, parents can follow their student and after that, relevant activity is sent to you in a daily digest, making it super-easy to stay aware of what’s important in your community.
The Trails platform is a great place to share, learn, teach, so let's all agree to be nice and helpful, and respectful of other's efforts and copyrights. Feel free to show off your relevant knowledge and research, your curations and creations, just remember that notifications are automatically sent (based on tags and the creator), so please keep your tags descriptive and related to the actual content of your Trails and Requests.
If something doesn’t feel right, do not be afraid to judiciously use the ‘Action>Notify Admin' link to report Trails which you feel need a second opinion on appropriateness.
Requests and Trails go hand-in-hand and back again. That is, Requests often prime the pump for Trails, from raw research to a final curated project in response to a need from a fellow member. And, if you have the same request or need for resources as someone else, simply “follow” their request to get notified when someone responds, or when the Request creator chooses a “Best Answer” from among all those proposed.
Make sure to use relevant and descriptive tags to make sure people interested in your Trail or Request, but who do not follow you already, get the word!
Following people and/or interest help you stay on top of Trails and Requests in the topics and community you care about. Conveniently, when you tag your Trails and Requests with keywords, you are auto-subscribed to those tags, meaning you will get notifications when new Trails or Requests are created with the same tags.
To follow a fellow student, teacher or other member of the community, you can click the “add to my community” button, seen by rolling over a user’s name, or visiting ‘Explore> Community”. (Note: You can refine when and what kind of notifications to receive by signing in and visiting /my/settings.)
Whether you’re an alt-ed microschool, an enrichment provider, a multi-hundred student Charter school, or somewhere in between, the Trails for Education platform can help you save time, money, and bring back a measure of joy and innovation to your educational endeavors.
And with many customizable options, such as visual theming and branding, public or restricted access, analytics and more, it’s easy to tailor fit Trails to your vision for building a thriving community around knowledge and learning.