If you are already a Smart Spinner and would like to be inspired to do more with Smart Spin, please check out our rewards to the right.
Encyclopedias as adventures - that is SMART SPIN.
It’s so simple - spin a wheel to land on a random topic. Our topics include a punchy overview, a deeper dive into the topic, some carefully curated and chosen videos and resources, and links to related topics. Our topics are arranged in creative “collections” which paint landscapes as well as merge disciplines.
“Information discovery plays a central role in how we fuel our creativity” (Maria Popova)Smart Spin is designed to be a springboard for children to discover what inspires and fascinates them. It is the perfect starting point for further exploration, creation and learning (instructive, collaborative or self-directed).
Smart Spin covers a wide range of subjects and fields:
Who is Smart Spin For?
- The content is collected, curated and edited for ages 10 and up, yet clever younger learners still find much to discover. We also invite you yourself to dive in and enjoy exploring the wealth of knowledge hidden inside Smart Spin.
- Whether you’re an involved and passionate parent, a caring and creative teacher, or both...
- Whether your child or student is naturally curious or loves to be inspired, is self-driven or learns best from others, is boisterous or calm, is adventurous or intellectual, loves to freely explore or gravitates towards goals, or any and all of the above...
- Whether learning in your home or classroom is structured or open-ended; whether it is instructive, collaborative or self-directed; whether you know what you’re doing or you’re just going with the flow...
- And if your child finds it difficult to learn in a traditional classroom setting for any number of reasons, including special and additional needs or personality preferences...Smart Spin is there for you.
With Smart Spin...
Let's Smart Spin
As a parent or educator (or both, simultaneously...), we need your help in creating more content for Smart Spin collections, as well as "Smarties" which are inspirational packages of goodies to help you create educational activities based on these collections. Whether you'd like to get exclusive access to these "Smarties", or simply support what we're doing - please help our mission to reimagine encyclopaedias.
All too often, learning either comes at us in a spoon or as an endpoint that we have to reach. This is based on the notion that there are certain things we *need* to know. And while that is true, and knowing is good, we believe that curiosity is better. So we’ve set out to build a curiosity experience. Not a search engine but a find engine. An adventure park for the imagination and discovery. Smart Spin is the antidote to passive, dry education and a narrow, directed and predictable mode of learning.
“Education is not a destination. It’s a curious journey...” (Debasish Mridha)
When learning is out of wonder and curiosity, not necessity.
When it is for personal growth and blowing your mind, not satisfying a requirement.
Smart Spin is a new way to discover and navigate knowledge!
We provide learners with access to a wide variety of quality educational content, but also with engaging and inspiring ways to explore the content out of their own interest, at their own pace. The ways by which learners discover and navigate knowledge in itself, provide enormous educational value.
Smart Spin is perfect for finding out information you didn’t know about, but also discovering connections you didn’t think about.
“There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.” (Neil deGrasse Tyson)We are making navigation, typically a mere functional activity, into an experience; into an intellectual endeavour, where the exploration of information becomes an adventure, an amusement, entertainment, a journey. It helps tell the story. It helps unlock the imagination. We don’t want you to come with something in mind. We want you to come with an open mind, and have your mind blown.
Let’s make sure every ‘learn’ is surrounded by excitement, joy and an undiminished spirit for exploration. The spirit we are born with, that must be fed.
What’s so great about randomness?
- If you want to explore a subject but don’t know where to start, just spin.
- If you don’t want to be overwhelmed with options and information and want to keep it casual, just spin.
- Because you might be interested in some topics, bored by some and completely excited about others. It works on the principle of “variable reward”, which is proven to drive engagement.
- It’s as much about being able to quickly and easily move on as it is to dive deeper.
- It supports the principles of microlearning. You can snack. Or have a three course meal.
- It’s fun and simple to spin a wheel, it’s surprising and exciting, making it easy and inviting to explore more. It utilizes the principle that makes games so engaging - “one more turn”.
- It nurtures curiosity and embraces serendipity; allows for the discovery of ideas we didn’t know we were interested in until we stumble upon them.
- It’s cross-curricular in an inspiring way. Collections of topics can be eclectic and surprising combinations of things - every spin, every randomized topic can be used to challenge conventions of how things are connected and what subjects include.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” (William Butler Yeats)
Our mission with Smart Spin is to challenge the convention of ‘what kids should learn’ and present them with what they might want to learn. Topics on Smart Spin are selected to not only be more appealing to a younger audience but also to be more “of the moment”, reflecting what kids are exposed to in current culture, in modern science, in contemporary art, in events happening now.
In Smart Spin we have:
Aristotle’s ideas on poetry, as well as Pixar’s rules of storytelling;
Einstein’s theory of relativity, as well as Neil deGrasse Tyson’s assertion about Pluto;
The destruction of Pompeii, as well as the destruction by hurricane Katrina;
The invention of the wheel, as well as the invention of the World Wide Web;
Picasso’s defiance of realism, as well as Banksy’s defiance of public spaces;
Past advancements in curing smallpox, as well as recent breakthroughs in curing cancer;
Statistical significance, as well as the chances of having the same birthday as someone else;
The development of psychotherapy, as well as the advent of positive psychology.
We want to show kids that investigating ANY topic,
whether it’s the fashion style of samurai armor or the dynamics of single-stage rockets;
whether it’s the canon of the Star Wars mythology or the versatility of the Arduino board;
whether it’s the search for extraterrestrial intelligence or the reason corn pops when heated;
whether it’s the art of Lego MOCs or the architecture of the Guggenheim museum;
is a valid goal for learning.
Ultimately and most simply, topics on Smart Spin can be a reminder of how much there is to know and of how enjoyable it is to gain that knowledge.
We love to learn.
Our own daughter now begins to learn about the world. She doesn’t follow a curriculum and we do not assess her with standardized exams. She is two, so she literally stumbles upon it, and we listen to her as she asks about it. We might not always know the answer (no problem, we can always look it up), but it is the excitement about the world that we want to feed. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” said Yeats. That is what we hope her education will be. That is why we are creating Smart Spin.
We love to learn; we don’t want her to ever stop loving it.
This is how education should look like:
Sasha discovers snow for the first time.
- To craft the ideal learning experiences that we want to have had; to facilitate learning the way we would like to have learned.
- To get children interested! We don’t just want them to take interest in learning about the world, it is our active duty to take them to that point. We need to establish trust in kids that Smart Spin gets interesting - they just need to spin.
- To have children come up to their parents and teachers and say - “hey, look what I found out!”
- To start learners on a journey, not just within our products but long beyond, through lifelong fascination to keep on learning. To seed inspiration that achievers look back on as the spark that set them on their way to achievement.
- To let kids know, and make a statement for parents, that education can also come from entertaining interests and activities. There’s no reason why Star Wars can’t be used for learning, why superheroes can’t be studied or serve as a conduit for understanding.
- To use technology and content to connecting generations, especially in the face of social media and digital distractions driving parents and children apart.
- To support an unpredictable learning journey. Start with Jupiter and end up at the Sistine Chapel. Start with Mardi Gras and end up with a googolplexianth. Start with Zeno’s paradoxes and end up with Amelia Earhart.
- To bring instructional design to the 21st century and bring innovating practices and convention-breaking ideas to instructional design.
- To be relevant. Not to serve outdated educational practices and (mis)conceptions from the 19th century, but to innovate and cultivate change fit for a 21st century society, and right for the people who will take part in it.
Team SmartWe are a small team of and tech-obsessed learning-led developers, powered by a community of like-minded educators, inspired by all our incredible kids. We’re committed to the pursuit of growing good hearts and great minds.
Those that write and curate what you find here come from a diverse range of expertise, driven by a hunger to learn, show, tell and share what they found, and what took their breath away. Those of us who select, highlight, express and project include academics, entrepreneurs, creatives, instructional designers, writers and designers, working together to weave educational journeys that delight as much as educate. Our collective experience spans many years and multiple industries. We bring together multiple disciplines to compose online portals into knowledge.
But most importantly, unlike any other learning platform, our “Board of Discovery” is made up of children and their parents, who have the taste, judgement and preternatural wisdom to know what’s good, great and downright mind busting.