Tag Archives: thinking tools

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: 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

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