Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Intel has dedicated significant resources to supporting education in a variety of ways but for this review, the focus is on their Online Thinking Tools, which are one feature to free resources created specifically for K-12 education. This review describes briefly the three tools individually but the overall focus is on the three tools as a whole for use in the classroom. The 3 tools include Visual Ranking, Seeing Reason and Showing Evidence. Visual Ranking helps students evaluate and analyze information visually by applying criteria to assigning ranking to an ordered list. Seeing Reason asks students to create visual maps that look at the relationships of complex systems. Showing Evidence visually helps students develop arguments supported by evidence. Overall, these tools provide students multiple ways to develop meaning from information. In particular, each of the tools is highly visual, require using logic, and encourage collaboration. Finally, each of the tools has strong support from Intel to assist teachers.
Once the user clicks on any one of these tools, there are structures and features to each of the tools. Each of these tools has these common features:
1. Every tool has common tabs labeled as; Overview & Benefits, Try the Tool Project Examples Instructional Strategies and Workspace.
2. Every tool has a sidebar link with educational research to back up the use of the tool with references.
3. Every tool has a visual image of what the tool looks like when filled out from the Overview & Benefits page.
4. Every tool has animated demos, tutorials and help guides. Also, there are hot buttons at the bottom of every tab that assist teachers in contacting Intel’s Education department for more help.
5. Every tool provides examples of units that can be used immediately and are developed for a variety of grade levels.
6. Every tool includes strategies to help the teacher integrate the tool into their curriculum including the stages to use the tool and recommendations of how to assess student’s progress.
Collaborative, engaging, backed up by educational research, free