Tag Archives: 21stcenturyedtech

Free: Visual Ranking Thinking Tool… Powerful Student Collaboration!

Welcome to a series of articles based on Intel Thinking Tools, an amazing set of free tools from Intel. The three tools I will be  highlighting in this and future posts are are just a small set of what Intel offers for free. The tool I include today is called the Visual Ranking Tool , one of Intel’s Online Thinking Tools. The description matches nicely and there are endless possibilities for the classroom. Before starting, remember to sign up via email or RSS and also,  follow me on twitter (mjgormans) to keep learning! I know after this read you will be creating visual ranking lessons that connect to your curriculum in no time! Have a great week! – Mike

Visual Ranking Tool -“The exercise of ordering your favorites…ranking one a level higher than another, and then articulating why you chose the way you did-requires a depth and clarity of consideration and comparison that inspires richer appreciation and enjoyment.” – Michael J. Gelb, from his book; How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci

Let me first introduce you to Visual Ranking, my personal favorite of this three tool set. Intel describes using this tool by stating, “Making a list is usually straightforward and requires little thought. But when it comes to ordering and prioritizing items in that list, higher-level skills of analysis and evaluation are put to use”. The Visual Ranking Tool allows students to focus their thinking behind creating ordered lists. Students practice identifying and refining criteria as they assign order or rank to a list. Collaboration is emphasized as students are given the opportunity to explain their reasoning and can compare their work with each other in a visual diagram. They can even compare their results with the reasoning of other groups, and even a class average. Imagine activities where students practice organizing their ideas, debate individual differences, and reach group consensus. Check out this overview of the tool and the research describing the benefits of this type of high order thinking activity for students.

Watch this video to get a better idea. After watching the video, try this quick demo to give you a better understanding.  Take a moment and explore Intel’s resources of units and plans for this tool. While Intel provides awesome ideas, you are also able to come up with your own ideas for rankings that may just fit into your curricular standards.  There are many lessons on the web that could incorporate this tool. One example is Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure. Note the list that is part of  the lesson. Astrosociety.org has this great lunar activity that could be adapted for use with Visual Ranking. I have used Visual Ranking in teacher professional development, asking educators to rank 21st Century Skills. It has been a great way to enhance the idea of 21st Century Skills while giving teachers an opportunity to learn a new tool. Intel also includes these instructional strategies which covers planning a lesson, implementing a project, and assessing student work.

Best of all, Intel has included a private project area for teachers to set up lessons, class lists, and collaborative groups. Students then log in to the secure teacher area. Collaboration can occur from any computer at school or at home. Teachers have the ability to monitor and asses student work on line, and even leave important feedback. It really is the type of program that many teachers are using the day after a short in-service. Take a moment and explore Visual Ranking, a tool that will apply to any curricular area while enhancing 21st Century Skills.

Thanks for joining me once again on the important journey of transforming education to fit the 21st century. Remember to sign up via email or RSS and also, follow me on twitter (mjgormans). I also have hundreds of resources available for free at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! Enjoy the week as you introduce new tools that encourage your students think! – Mike


Filed under Uncategorized

Pondering Podcasts? : Free First Class PD Videos On Podcasting!

Another mid week blog highlighting some of the best of the web. This week I focus on a fantastic site put out by Learning and Teaching Scotland. Learning and Teaching Scotland is sponsored by the Scottish Government and emphasizes information, guidance, and resources to promote learning in Scotland. While I have not explored the entire site, there is a portion at this site on Podcasts. It is certain to be an asset to any educator interested in producing their own podcats or engaging students by assisting them in producing their own podcasts. As always thanks for stopping by, please feel free to comment, and join me at my 21centuryedtech Wiki  filled with resources. You can follow me on twitter at @mjgormans, I will be sure to follow you back and we can learn from each other! – Mike 

How about a site that has 15 podcasts devoted to teaching teachers how to podcast? Or, how about over two hours of free professional development broken into 15 segments guaranteed to assist teachers towards integrating podcasts in the curriculum? Better yet , how about  podcasts that can be streamed to a computer or downloaded as quicktime movies in two different file sizes. It should also be mentioned that these tutorials are filled with outstanding  information, colorful graphics, and a mix of enjoyable music with wonderful narration. If this all sounds interesting then it is time for you to check out Podcasting from About Learning and Teaching in Scotland. While the series is designed for using podcasts in the modern foriegn languge classroom, most tutorials cover podcasting in general. The few geared toward foriegn language could make a case for adaptation in any subject area. Explore topics in five different series, many with multiple podcasts. Series one includes Why Podcast?, while series two includes reasons for students, teachers, curriculum, and classrooms to use podcasts. Series three provides ideas for podcasts intyegrated for a  foriegn language emphasis. In the fourth series, six different podcasts introduce teachers to equipment needed, Audacity as a pod production tool, integration with  a blog (Typepad), and the use of Podomatic to host and produce a podcast. Last, series five has three videos dedicated to producing podcasts with out a computer, pod safe music sounds, Voicethread (always use the educational servce), and Voki  (make avitars speak on a vodcast). Stop pondering and take a virtual trip to Scotland in order to perpetuate the use of podcasts in 21st century education.

Thanks for stopping by my 21centuryedtech Blog once. Please return or subscribe to an RSS feed. Remember to follow me on twitter at @mjgormans, I will be sure to follow you back and we can learn from each other! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized