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I love the graphic design and UI that the UK’s Futurelab uses together with their way of visually displaying the metadata underlying their content and contributors. But aside from this aesthetic appeal the beauty isn’t just skin-deep. The educators beghind Futurelab are obviously passionate about transforming the way people learn. Tapping into the huge potential offered by digital and other technologies, they develop innovative resources and practices that support new approaches to learning for the 21st century.
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Like Australia’s on edna in some ways Futurelab look for ideas that can be modelled, but also future-focused ideas that might not necessarily contain present-day technologies. Two of my favourite projects they are incubating are Exploratree and Newtoon.

Exploratree OverviewExploratree is a free web resource for teachers and students to download, use and make their own interactive thinking guides. Think concept mapping and brainstorming tools but on web2.0 steroids. Thinking guides can support independent and group research projects with frameworks for thinking, planning and enquiry. It provides a series of ready-made interactive ‘thinking guides’ or ‘frameworks’ which can support students’ projects and research. Thinking guides support the thinking or working through of an issue, topic or question and help to shape, define and focus an idea and also support the planning required to investigate it further.20080217-Rypnye51D1Yma1Umypbke8Hdms

20080217-1Yg4643Jpwtyfxiq1D48J3EqewNewtoon is a mobile phone and web activity which aims to embed physics learning in mobile gaming. It enables young people to author, play, edit and share fast-paced microgames for their mobile phones, where game rules are based on a set of Newtonian physics principles. Developing the Newtoon experience started with idea development, literature reviews and teacher consultation, followed by regular concept trials and development with teachers and students. Key findings are available here.