I have been playing with Pearltrees for the last few weeks.  Somebody created one for their Digital Artefact for the Elearning and Digital Cultures MOOC I did earlier this year.  At the time, I was a little unsure about them – it seemed quite cluttered and I wasn’t sure how to navigate it.  There didn’t seem to be a logical pathway through it and as I prefer a more visual approach, it wasn’t so appealing to me.

However, last week in NZ it was National Cyber Safety Week, and I wanted to create something that brought together a collection of websites, articles, blogs, videos that I could share with my colleagues.  I use Symbaloo as a website curation tool, and I also thought of using Scoopit, or just add them all to the Google Site that I am using with the teachers at school as part of our PD programme. Pinterest was an option, and so was but there were drawbacks to all of them. Symbaloo doesn’t allow for comments about the websites and I wanted to give a short review for each link.  I could add comments in Pinterest but the problem I have found with Pinterest is that not all websites have a “pinnable” image. isn’t really the right tool for the job and although I have a Scoopit account I haven’t really got to grips with it. The Google Site is not yet shared with everyone at school as not everyone has a Google account (another story which we are working on…) so it didn’t seem appropriate for a quick share.

That brought me back to PearlTrees – could it work as a curation tool that I could easily share with colleagues, something that they didn’t need an account for to be able to see and that provided a set of links that could all be seen on one screen?  I decided to try it out and have been quite pleased with it.  There are limitations to a free account – aren’t there always? You only have one “shape” and can’t add images and backgrounds to all your pearls. You have limited storage – I haven’t exceeded mine yet and am not sure how much I have available to me with a free account.  The cheapest Premium account allows you 1GB.

As usual, once I had created my account and started “pearling” I started to receive emails asking if I want to be Premium member.  Not ready for that yet, I still have a lot of exploring to go to decide whether I want to pay for a service.  I usually find that the free options provide enough functionality for the level at which I use things.  I am a bit of a gadget butterfly – I flit from one thing to the next, use them for a few months and then fly to the next bright, shiny thing.  I tend to use tools for specific purposes and I have stuck to some that suit my needs whilst abandoning others that don’t.

So, I decided to see if there was a Pearltrees app as I use my tablet and my Smartphone a lot.  It seems that there is an IOS app but not an Android app. Gutted! And the web browser version doesn’t work on a mobile device. I was ready to drop Pearl Trees altogether! Then the next email arrived – “Dear …… Premium ……..”.  I decided to reply and said that I had enjoyed using Peartrees but was disappointed that there was no Android App.  I received a reply within the hour – they were in the process of developing an Android App and it would be out soon.  Great!  An hour later I received another email from the design team – would I be interested in the alpha testing of the Android Pearltrees app? “What did it involve?” I replied.  “Just installing the app, using it and feeding back my comments.” “Why not?” I thought.  And so here I am – an alpha tester of the Pearltrees app for Android.  Keep an eye out for my comments….

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem possible to embed a PearlTree in this blog so here is a link to one that I have created.

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