The Visual Ranking Tool has several features you'll want to explore before creating your own projects. There are two ways to learn about the tool and its features: a demonstration workspace for practicing with the tool and a tutorial that takes you through the main features.
For a first-time experience with the tool and its features, start with the Demo. It has a list of inventions, with images, ready for you to rank in order of how they have improved people's lives. Simply click and drag an invention in the list and drop it into any position in the order. To explain your reasoning for an item's position, double-click on that item and add (or revise) comments in the box that appears. To compare your list with those made by other groups, click on the compare button and select a group. You'll see a visual display of the match between two lists and a correlation coefficient between two rankings. You can review the comments of any group by moving the cursor over the white icon in the upper right corner of an item. Use the show report feature to display a page showing your list and all comments about the rankings.
A five step introduction to the Visual Ranking Tool is outlined in the following illustrated tutorial. You'll learn how to:
You'll also learn more about the Visual Ranking App for mobile devices. You can follow the step-by-step tutorial on this page, or select one of the links in the numbered list above to jump to a specific step. You may also wish to download the Visual Ranking Tutorial for offline viewing of a step-by-step guide that shows the key features of the tool.
1. Set Up a New Project
Let's explore how a middle school social studies classroom might use the Visual Ranking Tool to consider the impact of invention on improving human lives. The students are studying the Industrial Revolution and have read about the contributions of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.
The teacher wants students to engage in thinking about the meaning of progress and improvement in human endeavor. She wants to get the students talking about what they know and understand about progress. She begins the activity with higher-level discussion questions:
- What is progress?
- What are the benefits and costs of what we create?
- Does progress create better health? Faster processes? More leisure? More happiness?
Following the discussion, students brainstorm a large list of inventions. The teacher guides them in consolidating the list to a manageable size of 8-10 items. Then she sets up a Visual Ranking project in the Teacher Workspace.
Next, the teacher adds images to the project.
2. Add Images to the Project
The teacher recognizes that visual imagery enhances learning retention and helps students with cognitive processing. She also wants to create a learning environment that supports all types of learners through multiple input modes. Using the built-in image library, the teacher adds images to each item in the list.
The teacher also chooses to upload some of her own images into her Personal Image Library. She uses tags to make the images accessible through the search tool.
Next, the teacher divides her class into student teams and assigns each team to the project. Students receive their login information from the teacher, then navigate to the Student Workspace to access the project.
3. Rank Items in a List
Student groups discuss their preferences for the order of an item in a list and agree to move items from their original ranking to new positions in the list.
4. Compare Lists
At this point, the computer lab gets noisy with a lot of discussion about criteria for ranking. Students begin to look at other teams' work—what do their peers think?
Students look at how other teams are ranking the inventions list by clicking on the compare button and choosing a team name.
A visual display makes the differences and similarities obvious. Students can also view the comments about why a team ranked one invention over another.
5. Assess Results
While students are working, the teacher logs in to the Teacher Workspace where she can review and comment on any team's work. The project comment feature supports open-ended communication between the teacher and students. Teachers can use this feature to prompt further thinking by posing a question, or students can use it to document a conclusion about their work.
When all students have ranked the invention list and explained their reasoning, the teacher leads a closing discussion about the results. From the Teacher Workspace, she displays the comparison of a few different teams and the comparison of one team to the class average.
She asks teams about correlation—did any team find another that was a close match? Did they find a correlation close to +1? Or, did they find any team that was very opposite with little correlation, close to -1?
The teacher ends the day's activity by having each team use the Show Report feature to print their ranking and comments. She will have each team use this report to prepare for small-group discussions about what is progress and improvement in the course of human history. Later, these reports will be collected for each student's assessment portfolio.
6. Visual Ranking App
The bell rings before students can finish their discussion about the list of inventions. One student volunteers to research it after school. On the bus ride home, he uses his smart phone to get more information online.
This student also uses his smart phone to download the Visual Ranking App. He logs in to the Inventions project on his mobile device.
He uses the Visual Ranking App to update his team's ranking and compare it with other teams.
The student creates a comment to explain his thinking and saves his work. When he gets home, he logs in to the Student Workspace online and sees his updated project.