Despite the best of intentions, many learning platforms have declined into virtual ghost towns because they’re too difficult to use and they become quickly outdated. To make a real difference to learning and teaching, a platform for learning must be easy to use, available anywhere and offer a choice and breadth of functionality, not just on day one, but over the long term.
There’s a technology revolution happening right now which offers us the solution to this conundrum. That revolution is the Web. In terms of content, population and usage, the growth in the Web is exponential. Almost everyone is familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Skype, YouTube, Flickr and myriad other sites. The reason for this popularity is that the Web is inherently collaborative, social and open. Traditional learning platforms try to compete for attention with these services but repeatedly fail because they are none of these things. We think the Web itself is the real platform for learning.
The challenge is to harness the benefits of the Web for learning and teaching. This means bringing focus to the chaotic and sprawling entity that is the Web. Schools need tools to discover, organise, curate and share the Web in an educational context. That’s why we created Airhead.
Airhead is a platform to organise, manage and curate the Web
Airhead is a web – or cloud – service that makes this easy, helping you to bring together web resources in a way that’s dynamic, exciting and relevant. Airhead is intuitive to use and requires little or no training. Any modern browser will run Airhead so you have the same experience from any connected location, whether you’re on a PC, laptop, Chromebook, iPad, iPhone, Android tablet or any other device that can run a browser.
So what exactly is Airhead? Airhead is made up of different web apps – LaunchPads, FlightDecks and AirBase – that run within one cloud service which together we call Airhead.
Taming the Web with LaunchPads
With LaunchPads you can organise, curate and share web resources including apps, documents, web sites, video, blogs, podcasts and everything else that is found on the Web. Each resource is represented by a tile that any user can either create or discover. The tiles can be dragged and dropped into any position on a launchpad, and you can create as many tiles and launchpads as you like!
FlightDecks give you the data you want, when you want it, wherever you are
FlightDecks is a an app for bringing together your important data. There are ‘widgets’ for email, calendars, tasks and recent documents that will integrate with Google Apps for Education and Microsoft O365. There are also widgets for many popular web services with more being added all the time. Widgets may be added and removed and dragged and dropped to customise flightdecks. You can create as many flightdecks as you like, to provide collections of data relevant to different tasks.
Sharing your launchpads and flightdecks to individuals and groups is easy
The best thing about Airhead is that it is designed for sharing and collaboration. Both flightdecks and launchpads may be shared with individuals and groups in your school and even across groups of schools. This means teachers can quickly share resources with their classes, their special interest groups or any other defined groups – including the whole school and parents. You can even create mixes of resources, e.g. documents, videos, online polls and apps, for individual lessons or homework.
AirBase is the key to discovering a wealth of educational resources on the Web
When you find a web resource you really like, or collect together a group of resources on a launchpad, you can share them publicly as well so the education community can benefit from your discoveries. AirBase is a searchable repository of launchpads and tiles that are tagged and rated so you can quickly find the best of the Web.
Customise the Airhead experience for individuals and for the whole school
Airhead is designed from the ground up for schools and it can be tailored to meet your school’s particular needs. For example, individuals can select from a range of themes to personalise their experience. There’s also a comprehensive administrator function in order to set up roles, permissions, default launchpads and many other features to control and customise Airhead.
Making a real difference to learning and teaching
We’ve created Airhead because we believe the Web is fundamentally important to the future of learning and teaching:
- There’s no need for lots of technical support or local servers so it’s less expensive to run.
- It’s intuitive and easy to use so there’s no need for masses of training.
- It’s evolving and improving every day so it stays fresh and relevant.
- You can get access to it anywhere, anytime on any device, including mobile devices, which means joined up and personalised learning opportunities.
And all of that is true for both the Web and for Airhead.
We really want Airhead to catalyse a rich, collaborative and dynamic learning experience for young people. For us, success looks like schools with no servers or technicians, using the Web wirelessly just like a utility, to find and use the best resources and tools to support learning and teaching at the point of need, wherever that might be. It’s a big vision but one that the Airhead team is passionate about and committed to.