PiktoChart

I found out about PiktoChart from a tweet a got from @Edudemic.  They tweet a lot, but there are definitely some good finds if you pay attention.

Piktochart example comparison chart

Click to see Piktochart.com

Piktochart is a great way to visualize pretty much anything.  For a visual learner like me it’s an amazing tool.  The ability to drag and drop with this site makes it super easy to create awesome visuals.  There are many themes and ready-made tools to help anyone make a graphic like the one above.

I think believe this will be a very useful tool for me in visualizing a number of things in my classroom, not to mention it gives me a great idea for a lesson plan/class assignment or project.

21st Century Teaching nuts and bolts

Shelley Wright’s 21st Century Teaching blog post I don’t thing is really talking about 21st century learning/teaching.  I believe it is reexamining learning the way it was done way back in the 16th Century, where knowledge was capped only by a students interest to learn. Like Galileo below…

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I think the real debate I can see here is a teaching being a Guru vs. a Guide to learning.

As a Guru:

  • Students learn what is decided by the teacher what will be taught.

As a Guide:

  • Teacher’s assist students to explore and discover what is most important to learn.

As a Guru:

  • Teacher’s are all knowing, information beyond the teacher’s knowledge isn’t important to know.

As a Guide:

  • Teacher’s (as Shelley Wright described) are co-collaborators learning alongside and giving guidance rather then force feeding information inorganically.

As a Guru:

  • Teacher’s keep learning and assignments into a very rigid box that is easy to interpret and evaluate for the teacher’s sake.

As a Guide:

  • Learning is a process in which discovery information and demonstration of material mastery is up to the student to determine and the teacher to measure appropriately.

Finally…

A Guru asks:

  • What’s the answer, how did you get there and what did you learn?

A Guide asks:

  • Why is that the answer, how else could you come up with that conclusion, and where do you go from here?

As I’ve laid out above, the difference between 21st and 16th Century teaching is mostly the mindset of the teacher and students, with a small sprinkle of technology and worldwide resources available at the click of a mouse.

The hope I have is to be able to apply this teaching technique to children much younger than high school aged kids seen in the article, and not teach kids what to learn, but teach kids how to get excited about discovery.

Billy Madison gif, because it’s a great movie and gifs are fun.

New Kind of Visual

When working on my about me page I liked the idea of visually conveying the most important or interesting things about me.

I used Wordle.net to create a word cloud to make a far more interesting about me page then just listing a bunch of facts.

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For me the words are not the primary focus, and how they look, the way they are positioned, and generally the colors and shapes my words make add to who I am as much as the words do.

My review:

I really like this wordle site, and though I’ve only played with it a little bit, I can see this as a great icebreaker type tool for each student to make during class to help introduce themselves.  Also, wordle can be used as a project enhancer itself, using it for posters or projects that the students have to put together for assignments.  It seems there can be many applications for this site to be used in a classroom setting, and it help merge content with creativity.  Mixing content and creativity seems to always be a difficult thing to do on a regular basis in classrooms, thus making the content lack-luster and boring.  I definitely think I’ll be making use of this site in the future.