Subject Matter Problem-solving and Concept Mapping
A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. Using one of the tools available here, you can take a complex subject or project, and break it down into easily understandable or doable parts.
Intel Education includes a selection of 21st Century Thinking Tools. These free, online tools provide frameworks, bring focus, help make thinking visible and promote collaboration as students work together to refine their understanding.
The Interactive Multi-Media Exercises synthesizes creative problem-solving tasks in different subject topics at different grade levels. Complementary software plots the concept-mapping of students onto a system of rubrics and performance outcomes.
The major advantage of this online system is that data about building concepts for an entire class can be aggregated, displayed and charted for progress.
While the topics, such as Desperately Seeking Solutions, may be creative and motivational for students, this system summarizes a great amount of data which would be tedious, if not impossible, for a single teacher to mine on an individual student or class protocol for an entire school year, say. In that regard, this project could be categorized alongside online student notebooks, such as CSILE, in which cognitive development is also made explicit.
WorkFlowy is an outliner, organization tool that allows you to just pour our your ideas, thoughts and notes into a repository and organize at will. Can be used for personal to-dos, collaborating on large team projects, taking notes, writing research papers, keeping a journal, and more. While their home page is spartan, the "plan a wedding" link gives you a good idea of what it can do. Highly recommended.
CTOOLS offers cognitive mapping techniques for organizing knowledge.
Popplet is like a virtual bulletin board or a mind map, similar to Workflowy, but more graphically oriented. Popplet can be accessed thru a native iPad app or from any web browser
Some recently developed models of thinking rely upon visualization so students can replicate how experts conceptualize a challenge. Making Learning Visible also stresses collaboration.
Design Ignites Change supports creative professionals, as well as high school and college students, who use design thinking – the combination of unleashed creativity and executable actions – to improve the lives of individuals and communities.
Because of the influence of computers, "computational thinking" capitalizes on the particular computer features, such as data mining,and algorithmic reasoning.
The mission of the Center for Computational Thinking is to advance computing research and advocate for the widespread use of computational thinking to improve people's lives.
"Computational Thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating problems and their solutions so that the solutions are represented in a form that can be effectively carried out by an information-processing agent."
IMMEX has been developed over many years and attacks a major challenge in understanding students' progress--what are they thinking with regard to a topic and is their thinking becoming more refined over time?
The developers would prefer that this system is used frequently but in the librarian's view it should be treated like a digital portfolio--implemented 2 or 3 times a year. While the software promotes complex compilation, it is still time-consuming.
Other Areas To Check Out...
• National Academy of Science
• International Society for Technology in Education
• Networks for Teachers By Teachers (sampler)
• Space Exploration and Astrobiology
• Algodoo 2-D Physics Sandbox
• Thoughts on Educational Reform