18 July 2008

New Links for Learning

Teachers are packrats. The saving grace of the digital age is that most resources don't have to take up real space, just occupy spots on a server. Thank goodness for that, because with new tools and ideas generated daily, there would never be room for them all. My del.icio.us account keeps growing (if you want to add me to your network, e me for details as I have things there under my real name). I really do like this service. I'm rarely check my network for new ideas, but I also like that I can bookmark all sorts of things, label them, and then access them from anywhere.

Here are a few highlights which were either suggested to me or that I stumbled upon as I was rollin' around the web:
  • Two new and interesting mind-mapping tools. One is Text 2 Mind Map and the other Mindomo. (Screen shots for each are below. Click to embiggen.) I think that Mindomo has many more great features and classroom applications. I like that you can link the map to other areas on the web, notations, etc. And you can download maps onto your classroom website. Text 2 Mind Map, however, is really simple to use and has an easy interface for moving between an outline and graphic form. Speaking of graphic organizers, check out this great page with 100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner. There are amazing ideas for differentiation using technology here.

  • Privnote is truly just for fun. In Mission Impossible form, you can send e-mail that will self-destruct after it is read. I can imagine what a kick it would be to send students reminders about deadlines or tests or other events using this tool. It would be great for communicating with peers about meetings, too.
  • In terms of meeting up, have you ever struggled to find a time and date which works for everyone? Next time you're trying to set up something, why not give When Is Good? a try? You click the times on a grid which work best for you and then send the link to others so that they can do the same. This saves a ton of e-mail time and hassle with coordination. Let this site save you from an aching head.
  • Have a look at all of these game templates. While I can easily imagine using some of these with student and teacher groups, I can also see where it would be great to have students build their own representations of learning. Kids can also develop their own study aids over at the Flash Card Maker.
  • iRubric will help you build and integrate scoring guides for your classroom while PageOnce can act as your personal assistant on the web to "remember" all kinds of information for you while you cruise.
I seem to add to my list daily. Am I using all of these consistently? No, not yet---but that's okay. There are different tools for different jobs. It's good to have the variety at hand for when I need it. Is there anything else you'd recommend I have a look at?


Hugh O'Donnell said...

I've seen mind map programs that make an outline from a map, but what's the point in making a map from an outline? (Linear to non-linear.)

While mind map programs are fun, they are also limited to the upright screen view. I like to rotate my blank paper back and forth around on my desk as I create branches.

I also like to have as little between my brain and the paper as possible, and the computer interface offers no real advantages that outweigh using pencil and paper. In my opinion, that it. :)

That said, I think mind mapping is a critical skill for all learners. I use it for everything from ideation to note-taking, and problem solving.

In grad school, when I had a choice of topics for an essay test, I'd take five minutes and create a mind map on the topic I knew best. It's literally an extraction tool for knowledge! Then I'd number the branches in the order I chose, create an intro, then tie it all together with a summary and conclusion. The map provided the "body."

Anonymous said...

I love your layout!!

The Science Goddess said...

Hugh: I definitely like doing things on paper. I see the advantage of doing a mindmap digitally when projected in the classroom. It could be a great starting point for capturing information and then having kids continue on individually.

Amelie: Thank you! Wish I could take credit for it, but a wonderful designer helped me out.

Hugh O'Donnell said...

SG, How about projecting a hand-drawn mind map from a tablet computer. Show the kids how you do it on paper.

The Science Goddess said...

Always an option (or using a document camera). Good to give kids various modes!