Siftr.org (Cool Stuff I’m working on)

SIFTR.ORG

You may have heard of, or used ARIS, the iOS place-based activity platform. I would like to introduce its simpler sibling —  Siftr.org — a cross-platform, web-based, mobile and desktop, interactive crowd-sourcing map that the Mobile Learning Incubator built for the Year of Innovation.

One of my personal goals in pursuing the opportunity to build it was to create a place-based education tool that instructors can employ to harness creativity, collaboration, and peer-to-peer knowledge construction by all of their students, regardless of whether they have an iPhone or Android, or even just a laptop or desktop computer.

What Siftr Does

Siftr does this by letting any user:

  • upload images, audio, and text (title and description) to a specific location on a map — from their desktop, laptop, or mobile device camera

  • see other users’ submissions on a map

  • “like,” comment on, and share others’ submissions

  • filter and visualize on the map users’ submissions by tags or keywords

Siftr in Learning and Participatory Research

I envision this as more easily and more broadly enabling the class projects that inspired it, such as Field Research in Folklore, or Fibers Design students’ trips to the prairie to learn about fiber plants, or participatory photo mapping in communities do. It could also help visualize patterns of data submitted by students studying all over the globe, or in service learning all over the community.

We’d like to get your ideas on how you might envision it being used in other UW-Madison courses, so I’m reaching out for your input. If you can see this, or something like this, as a powerful teaching and learning tool, please let me know. I’ll pick your brain on your visions for it, and try to make them happen.

Adjusting to needs

Currently, Siftr instances need to be created one at a time, and there’d be no overlap between them. We are considering adding “Channels” to Siftr which will leave each Siftr channel (or “Sift”) uncluttered by others — and yet people will be able to stumble upon others and join in contributing! This allows pedagogical use that will lead to increased use of the YOI sift (as the default landing spot).

What are your needs, thoughts, and ideas for a tool like this? 

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