I often use the Thinking Tools in my classroom. In fact this year, I taught a peer in a different state how to use Visual Ranking. We combined our classes together on a project. We used Visual Ranking as a "pretest" to see what our students knew before the unit began. Students wrote the information they learned during the unit in a Wiki at the conclusion of the unit. It's not often I have created over 100 teams for a project like this.
I also have used Seeing Reason on a regular basis. We usually begin by discussing the unit's topic and in small groups brainstorming possible answers to the unit & essential questions. Students in these same groups then work using Seeing Reason tool to answer the questions. They are allowed to use any reference material they wish in the process. A recent activity dealt with Pollution. Most student groups found their references online and included both their summary and the reference link in the project. Students were VERY surprised at the conclusion of the project. I printed out the written material from their "Cool designs" (their words.) Many groups had over 10 printed pages of material. To say they were shocked at how much work they completed is putting it lightly. In addition, this was done in a TOTAL of three class periods!
This isn't an example of its use in the classroom, but rather a request I had for its use at the district level.
A Superintendent of a very large elementary school district attended a Leadership Forum. After we used the Visual Ranking tool to rank the ISTE standards and I spoke about the teacher set up of the tool. He was disappointed in its inability to rank more than 16 items. He thought this would be a great way to give his staff input in determining which areas of the budget would have to be cut, during this time of budget shortfalls.
After the session, he and I spoke some more about the ways we could use the tool.
- Grouping items into three separate activities and then ranking the top four of each group. He didn't like this idea, because that meant the teachers would have to do it more than once and they wouldn't be looking at the whole picture.
- Grouping the items by category to get 16 categories. He didn't like this idea, because someone would might want to cut an item in a cetegory, but not the entire category.
Does anyone have other ideas?
Is there ever any talk with the developers to increase the item count for the ranking tool?
One of the "coolest" uses of Showing Evidence was used by a teacher with her administrator. She was going to NECC and was suppose to spend time in the vendor section looking for software/equipment for the school. She used the tool to show support for the purchase of the items and then she had the evidence provided by the vendors included. She was able to provide a very professional looking response for purchasing (or not purchasing).
One of our regions used the Showing Evidence tool as a part of the interview process for our technology facilitator. They were given a link to the tool and asked to make the case for why they were qualified for the job. It was great because you not only got to see their characteristics but you also saw their technology skills.
We use the tools regularly in our district. Just recently a group of 8th grade science students used Visual Ranking as a discussion tool on a list of advancements in science. It was similar to the inventions demo, except the students were given more criteria on which advancements have make world better, faster, and stronger.
We use the Showing Evidence tool for extensive projects as it's a wonderful web 2.0 tool where students can save their research in one location. Just this past couple of weeks a 7th grade classroom used it to research the 1920's prohibition in Kansas. The class was divided and given a position to take in the debate. The Showing Evidence tool provided an excellent scaffold to build the students' cases and prepare for a town hall debate.
One of my favorite features in any of the tools is the comments area. Here we use these as a reflection journal for teams. As they complete their work for the day, the students reflect on successes and struggles and make action plans for the following work day. This has been a tremendous help for our students and the teachers throughout a project.
In every graduate course I teach, no matter what the course, there is always a discussion about literacy, and most of the time it is about how Web 2.0 tools are undermining literacy. Last semester, when the subject came up, I directed the class to a Seeing Reason activity. Guess what they discovered? Web 2.0 tools can enhance literacy!
I hope this is a good place to put this question...
I am in the middle of a TwT for MT candidates. I notice that on page 8.05, there is a margin reference that mentions the ST will show some sample student maps from the Seeing Reason tool. I don't have a classroom and I have never collected student maps. I wonder if anyone out there has any samples that they would be willing to share so that I might be able to use them.
I'm not finding any in the ST resources folders. How have others done this in the past?
Thank you very much for your assistance!
Bonnie- I just went to check and you are correct- unless you have done a project you will not be able to show student maps. I always had some classroom examples that I could share.
As for sharing maps from someone else- the best thing to do would be to have them send you a copy of the print view that shows all the different versions of the maps so you can highlight and point out the importance of explaining relationships.
I did send an e-mail for the team to take a closer look for additional suggestions - but I do hope that other STs respond because I know many of them are not in the classroom like yourself and I would be interested in what samples they shared.
Bonnie- I kept looking for a separate resource for sample maps- but there aren't any.The ST presentation for the MT training has what you are looking for. The presentations can be downloaded on the course updates site - http://download.intel.com/education/common/en/resources/twt/2.5/course_resources/training_files/Training_Presentations_for_STs/Thinking_w_Tech_Module8_2.5_MT.ppt#624,9,Module 8: Considering the Seeing Reason Tool for Your Unit Activity 2 Sharing Causal Maps and Practicing Effective Questioning – Module 8.05