Making Thinking Visible in a Technology Infused Classroom

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Part 1 – Making Thinking Visible:

After being part of a technology infused classroom for over 15 years, I have recently come to believe something profound about teaching and learning in the technology-rich classroom.  Effective technology integration happens when we consider these three questions.

How might we make student thinking visible?

How might we use the device to hear from every student in the class?

and

How might we allow students to actively share their work so they can learn from each other?

When we use the technology in our classrooms to type papers or take notes, we are certainly making life easier on students – but are we updating instructional practices to reflect learners who like Steven Austin – the Bionic Man – have been amplified by technology? A student who is better, stronger and faster – a digitally empowered learner with access to information never before seen in human history. How can we use the devices to better help these students learn?

I believe it revolves around the idea of  “Making Thinking Visible”  – a term that comes from Visible Thinking out of Harvard University’s Project Zero. According to the research, there are thinking routines we should use to help students grapple with their ideas so they can develop better thinking skills. These routines can be used over and over so that they become the fabric of the class. I often used them in my teaching as I was introduced to a while ago.

Now, however, I want to know how these might be melded with technology. The answer seems simple – we develop the routines in our classes and then use the devices to listen to student thinking evolve. As student thinking grows and becomes more sophisticated,  we can easily allow them to create learning artifacts that make it possible for them to share their ideas with not only the teacher and other students,  but to make their thinking visible to a global audience.

Want to get started?  Start with this simple thinking routine shown here.

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  • On an iPad have a student use Explain Everything to show and tell what they thought at the beginning of the lesson and what they think now.
  • On a laptop, use the Chrome Extension Screencastiy to have the students make a graphical representation of their ideas and then screencast themselves explaining it.

They can turn these into you using Google Drive shared folder –  and you can quickly watch and listen to them from home – without lugging home a huge bag of homework to grade.

There are many ways to get at thinking, this is just a very simple idea to get you started. More ideas to follow on this blog in the next few weeks!

 

Author: HollyClark

Holly lives and works in San Diego, California. She delivers professional development to schools internationally and speaks at conferences about empowering teachers and students with iPads and Google Apps for Education. Contact her at holly@edtechteam.com to have her present or work with your school.

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