Tag Archives: problem solving

Free: Seeing Reason Tool…High Order Thinking, Mapping, And Collaboration!

Welcome to the second in a series of articles based on Intel Thinking Tools, an amazing set of free tools from Intel. The tool I include today is called the Seeing Reason Tool  , one of Intel’s amazing Online Thinking Tools. The description is perfect for those educators wanting their students engaged in 21st Century learning  activities in the classroom. Before starting, remember to sign up for future posts via email or RSS and also,  follow me on twitter at (mjgormans) to keep learning!  By the time you finish this post you, will dreaming up activities that will allow your students avenues to see reasons, connections, and relevance in all curricular areas.  Have a great week! – Mike


Seeing Reason Tools – Any collection of related facts is difficult to grasp when expressed by figures in tabular form, but the same may be seen at a glance when presented by one of the many graphic representations of those ideas.” – Gardner C. Anthony; from his book; An Introduction to the Graphic Language

There is no better tool that can promote real thinking than one that allows students to brainstorm and web. Intel describes this tool as one that allows students to “investigate relationships in complex systems, and create maps that communicate understanding”. Simply put, the Seeing Reason mapping tool allows a user to create diagrams or “causal maps.”  These maps allow students to understand the information in the investigation of a problem. This is perfect for Problem, Project, and Inquiry Based Learning.  Students learn to organize the factors that influence or affect a problem, and more importantly show how these factors interact with each other in cause-and-effect relationships. This must see tool supports cycles of investigation allowing students to gather what they know, organize that knowledge base into a map, and then investigate whether their initial concepts are really supported by necessary evidence. The benefits include the five key points allowing students to; think about and talk about their learning, negotiate the meaning of their symbols and make their ideas public, translate from one form of knowledge to another, transfer their knowledge to other cause-and-effect situations, and gain experience in using tools for problem solving.

To better understand the Seeing Reason Tool watch this video and also take a look at this provided demo.  Also, be sure to take a moment to explore Intel’s resources of units . Not only will these units and additional project ideas be excellent resources,  they will also provide other ideas for lessons that integrate the use of this tool. 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 assess student work on line, and even leave important feedback. Take a moment and explore Seeing Reason, 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 at (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 to think! – Mike


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Free Math Video Game & Curriculum From MIT: Engages Students And Facilitates 21st Century Learning!

A great MIT math game for middle school students incorporating problem solving, higher order thinking skills, national standards, and 21st century skills is available for free!  Includes lesson plans, graphic organizers, a library of material, evaluation strategies, and a  teacher administrative tool set. You have just entered the world of Lure of the Labyrinth, one of my web catches of the week!  While it has been around for a few years, it deserves mention every so often. For more great resources visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki – Mike  email (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us) Twitter @mjgormans

MIT has created another great learning experience, this time for middle school pre-algebra and algebra students. This is not the typical game that involves solving math problems with the reward of playing a game as a reward in the end.  Lure of the Labyrinth isn’t that kind of game. In fact, teachers and students report that math is one of the most fun parts of this game that incorporates a style found in popular graphic novels. It is embedded in a strong story line that engages students in a far off world where they must stop the  monsters from dominating the world.  This is accomplished by solving puzzles through the use of logic and the understanding of  number relationships. The mathematics embedded in Lure of the Labyrinth is the central part of any pre-algebra curriculum, and is based on key standards that guide national and state mathematics curriculum. Lure of the Labyrinth’s exploration of number relationships is complex, intriguing, and it is accessible to all mathematical thinkers. Take a moment to read more about all of the math, scientific method, problem solving,  and hypothesizing found in this unique game.
There are two basic ways that teachers can use Lure of the Labyrinth. Students can play it as a full-fledged game or they can  play its puzzles as separate, standalone activities that compliment specific math lessons. There is a large resource area available for teachers that cover standardssixteen different lesson plans, and graphic organizers that can be used with each lesson.  The game also allows for student cooperation and collaboration while giving teachers an administrative tool to monitor online activity and student progress. The graphics are fun and the story line is interesting! Take a moment to view various video segments produced for professional development of Maryland teachers  involving  game play, testimonials, and planning! Be sure to read this complete page written for educators and be sure to listen to the audio by Scott Osterweil  who is Creative Director at the Education Arcade at MIT . In fact, the MIT link will bring you several other games for education that I will include in future write ups. More research is supporting the use of games to faciltate  this generation of digital natives in their aquisition of  those all important 21st century skills!

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to send on any comments or replies and catch all updates on both sites at twitter – Mike

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It’s Free – Intel Provides An Amazing Tool To Assess 21st Century Skills

 

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler an American futurist.

This quote found on the front page of the Intel’s Assessing Project Tool web site gives a foundation  and premise for Intel’s  free educational resource . For those trying to assess 21century skills, this site provides some practical tools and resources to answer this question. Not only does Intel provide a unique interface to construct a rubric, it includes theory, rational, best practices, and outstanding examples. It is more then an assessment tool, if used correctly it allows teacher’s to truely transform their practice using a planning process that starts with the end and involves on-going assessment. Please take a moment to read over my review and explore the links that will highlight some of the outstanding attitibutes of this site. As always, take a moment to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki .  If you have 21century skill assessment practices to share please post a reply or send an email. I enjoy reading and make it a practice to answer each and every e-mail. – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

The biggest question I get from teachers when conducting workshops on technology integration and 21st century skills remains, “How do you assess the 21st century skills?”  While it is important to make sure content standards are integrated and assessed in student projects, many times the 21st century skills are loosely incorporated and assessed . This leaves students often confused with the attempted integration of  21st century skill, resulting in a goal never achieved. Once again, as most research suggests, it is important that all projects are designed with the end in mind. The conclusion includes both content standards, and the 21st century skills that are to be acheived by students. This end, is a part of the planning process that is communicated to students in the form of a rubric. The rubric must act as a guide while students engage with the project’s on-going process.

This preparation can be time consuming for the educator, which is why I invite you to explore Intel Education’s Assessing Projects Tool. I am a long time fan of the Intel Thinking  Tools. I am just as impressed with the Assessing  Projects Tool.  Intel states, “When assessment drives instruction, students learn more and become more confident, self-directed learners. Assessing Projects helps teachers create assessments that address 21st century skills and provides strategies to make assessment an integral part of their teaching and help students understand content more deeply, think at higher levels, and become self-directed learners”.

The site overview page  gives the benefits of assessing projects, numerous references and authoritive writings,  and some outstanding assessment based websites  based on 21st century education. Learn more about the purpose of assessment, various assessments that go beyond tests, papers, and oral presentations, and how formative assessment which is continuous and ongoing promotes real achievement. Additionally, while higher-order thinking such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and metacognition, can be a challenge. this tool explores methods for assessing thinking. Last, this tool explores what components are necessary for successful assessment in a school.

Intel gives you the opportunity to Try It.  Here you can try a Demo to explore the Assessment Library and examine checklists, rubrics, and scoring guides on thinking skills, processes, products, and performances. There is also a video tutorial that allows you to see how features of the Assessing Projects application work in the classroom. You can also view a great animation of the process which helps simplify the process. Explore some example project assessment forms for both the elementary and secondary level. Intel states that assessment strategies can be broken into five main categories. While not all methods within a category are needed, all categories should be included in an assessment plan. The categories included are Strategies for Gauging Student Needs ,  Strategies for Encouraging Self-Direction and Collaboration,  Strategies for Monitoring ProgressStrategies for Checking for Understanding and Encouraging Metacognition,  and Strategies for Demonstrating Understanding and Skill. There is also an area that describes the planning of assessment, the changing of assessment strategies, and some sample lesson plans complete with timeline of project, venn diagram, table, and assessment timeline. I find it useful to use the large selection of pre-made rubics and modify and save them to my Intel Work Space. From here they can be exported as a Word or Excel file.

In conclusion, Intel offers a top of the line tool that is free to educators. There are other tools which I will explore in future posts but I do suggest that anyone exploring assessment of 21st century skills take a look at the Intel Assessing Projects Tool for its ease of use, vast resources of information,  on-line productivity, and theory behind practice. While it acts as a rubric machine, it goes much farther by transtorming educational practice. Please feel free to email or post. I am interested in learning about other tools available for 21st century assessment.  While taking your journey in 21st century education, please visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

 

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Time For “Your Take” – An Interactive Site That Promotes “The Wisdom Of The Crowd”

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Once in a while a truly unique site is created that promotes genuine 21st Century Skills using technology. A site that provides tools that  assist students in  reflecting, questioning, collaborating, thinking globally, gathering facts, analyzing, and seeking solutions is currently available for free!  Your Take demonstrates the true power found in a group working together.  Students must learn thos process if they are to successfully compete  in the global world of the 21st Century.  Your Take,  an effort made possible by the Tregoe Education Forum,  can be found at www.yourtake.org.  The site emphasizes that a real  key to success inside and outside the classroom is the ability to think critically and  go beyond grades.  The authors of this site have developed a unique tool called SCAN .  The SCAN program promotes an interactive and collaborative way for students to use technology to analyze and problem solve an issue. The letters in SCAN stand for:

S – Stop and think things through

C – Clarify the key issues

A – Ask yourself what’s most important

N – Now, what’s your next step

Lessons can be taught as an individual or group activity. Students use the web to follow these guidelines and reflect on various points of view. The end product is a group effort that can be used as a project, writing prompt, or presentation. A  video provided by Your Take gives a clear demonstration  of how this program works. The program has nearly one hundred pre-made lessons with prompts. I advise you to not stop there. Use lessons that you have used in the past and integrate them using this outstanding technology. Include standards found in your curriculum to better understand past issues in history, current topics of today, and future problems that will need solutions only found through the efforts of a group. An archived Webinar provides an even  more thorough examination of Your Take. It provides great information on the ways to set up this online collaborative environment in a safe and effective way. A list of sample of standards,  including 21st century technology standards can also be found on the Your Take Web Site.

As you become familiar with this amazing site please feel free to post ideas, plans, and thoughts you may have on using this tool in education. I also invite you to read a book entitled, The Wisdom of Crowds ,by James Surowiecki. It is a must read for twenty-first century educators as they affirm mission and vision for facilitating student growth in twenty-first century skills. After all, we are a crowd of educators  and together our collective wisdom has unlimited potential! Feel free to join the constantly growing crowd at my wiki entitled 21centuryedtech at www. 21centuryedtech.wikispaces.com . It really is time for you to become even more familiar with  Your Take!

Mike  (21centuryedtech)

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