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NBC News' iCue: Learning That's Innovative, Interactive and Fun

Launched by NBC News in May 2008, iCue is an educational website designed to help students 13 years and older learn through gaming, peer discussion and innovative ways of interacting with video content from NBC's news archive. The site was developed based on research by the MIT Education Arcade and other academic studies on how people naturally learn, such as through play, exploration and collaboration.

On iCue (which stands for Immerse, Connect, Understand and Excel), you can:

  • access hundreds of videos and other media
  • jot down study notes and comments on cue cards
  • share notes and ideas with friends
  • debate issues in moderated discussion forums or friends network
  • test your knowledge and compete with friends in games
  • learn from your peers or on your own, at your own pace



Cue cards: "The heart of the iCue experience"


Cue cards are the coolest thing about iCue. So what is a cue card? According to the site, a cue card is "a video player, flash card, note-taking tool, and trading card all rolled into one." A cue card is three-dimensional and uses a patented technology that allows you to view streaming video on one side and to "flip" the card over to see other useful information, such as source information and keyword tags. There's also an option on the card that brings up an entire transcript of the video.

 

The "front" of a cue card contains streaming video.The "front" of a cue card contains streaming video.

 

The "back" of a cue card (color-coded in red here) contains additional information.The "back" of a cue card (color-coded in red here) contains additional information.


As you collect cards by "snagging" them, you can add notes, comments or even your own keyword tags to cards. Plus, you can share your cards with or "snag" cards from friends — kind of like comparing study notes. Speaking of studying, you can color-code and categorize cue cards so that they would be easy to organize and find when preparing for tests. And cue cards are also used in games and activities.

 


For students, teachers and lifelong learners


Currently, iCue only offers a collection of videos, interactive games and activities related to the theme of the U.S. presidential elections and Decision '08. Over the summer, NBC plans to roll out additional collections to support students learning U.S. history, U.S. government and politics, and English language and composition.

The collections are based on Advanced Placement courses (college-level courses offered at high schools), but anyone interested in the topics — student or non-student; high school, college or otherwise — will probably find plenty of resources to support their learning. And teachers can incorporate video resources into their lessons.

With iCue, NBC News offers up a rich resource of videos and other media contained in a fun, interactive and collaborative learning environment, perhaps leading the way in online learning as an innovative news provider.

Check it out for yourself by taking a tour of the site.

Lily Chaos
Innovative Websites and New Media
InventorSpot.com