edNovo.org hails its product, Gooru, as "technology for social transformation." (Looks like I won't be handing out any props for exceptional taglines today.)
The website's homepage
looks ambiguous as well. After some light probing, though, I see that edNovo/Gooru is NOT some mildly new-agey we-love-everyone social cause, but a self-described "21st century learning" web app (that launches this month), which aims to engage both teachers and students with enriched digital textbooks with annotative functions, social networking and chatting features, and the ability to access and incorporate the many resources of the mighty internet into one's lesson plans (if you're the teacher) and homework (if you're the student).
With Gooru, teachers
can find a preexisting lesson, edit and customize this lesson, or create an entirely new lesson. These lessons work like playlists: first show an image, then a video, then a diagram, and on and on. The platform's emphasis on internet content doesn't mean anything goes, however. Its "Search and Teach" function employs a "Custom Edu" search engine that only scours reputable learning sites from which teachers can pick and choose their resources.
Gooru also has a strong social slant: while students
are at home, they can read from a digital textbook, take quizzes, take notes, share notes, search for resources to supplement these notes, share these resources, chat with teachers, and chat with peers. Teachers can also collaborate on lessons, share their resources, share their lessons, and even share teaching responsibilities via web cam.
Gooru markets itself as a platform that unburdens teachers
who have too many students and not enough time to cater to their individual needs. Claiming that most ed materials used in classrooms today "lack real world relevance," Gooru promises to keep students engaged with its internet-based multimedia and social features.
I'm unsure if this technology is at all groundbreaking, but I like that it's free. I'd probably give it a go if I were a teacher. Would you?