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TED Talk Tuesday: Tim Brown urges designers to think big

Today’s #edchat discussion on Twitter was all about training kids as critical thinkers.  I believe that we are losing students as critical thinkers because in our current model of education, where we are standardizing education with tests, we teach kids that there is one correct answer to every question.  We limit their thinking to what we have already determined is an acceptable answer to the question.  This is extremely limiting.  Critical thinking means that we aren’t satisfied with the easy answer, we think about multiple solutions to the problem and even think of additional questions.  We approach a problem differently, more creatively. In today’s TED Talk, Tim Brown talks about his journey in design and his tendency to think about problems on a small scale, limiting himself to the obvious answers and a single solution.  Design wasn’t always this way, design used to be big. Design thinking solves problems and works to create world changing innovations. It seems to me that there is a strong correlation with what Tim refers to as Design Thinking and what we call critical thinking.  Roger Martin calls this integrative thinking, the ability to exploit opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions. Isn’t this what we are asking our students to do when we are looking for critical thinking?  What we really want students to do is think as designers.   When I watch children who haven’t yet entered the classroom, I notice a strong correlation between the way a child thinks and the way a designer thinks.  They are questioners, tinkerers, and are never satisfied with one solution. Design thinking could be our model for critical thinking in the classroom, but beyond that design thinking could be our solution to reform in education.  Exploiting opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions. Design is human centered, it starts with what humans need or might need. It means understanding culture and context.   From destination to active participation that is meaningful and productive. Value is added through collaborative experiences and not through monetary gains alone (think Twitter). In times of change we need new thinking and new ideas.  We are in the midst of massive change and we need to rethink what we accept as basic fundamentals. We need new choices because our current options are becoming obsolete.  We need to take a divergent approach and come up with something that hasn’t been done before.  What is the question we are trying to answer? What is the design brief for education. The first step is to start asking the right questions. (I think #edchat does an honorable job of this!)  What are the right questions?

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Capzles Interactive Timeline Tutorial

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Art, Create, Evaluate, History, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Music, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Video Tutorials, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 03-02-2011

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Capzles is a site that I have written about and recommended many times (you can read one of my original posts about it below).  I am currently working with a school that has zero technology.  When I say zero, I mean they don’t even have over head projectors.  This is a NO tech school.  They recently enlisted my help in taking their eighth graders from no tech into a one-to-one environment.  Each of the students will be receiving a laptop to use during instruction.  The challenge: the computers aren’t all the same age, make, or model.  No problem, we will use web 2.0 tools!  The benefit of going from zero to fully immersed: no bad technology habits to break, we are staring from a clean slate!

Last week I met with the eighth grade teacher to talk about what learning is currently happening in the classroom and took a look at the scope and sequence of learning for the next semester.  I asked a LOT of questions and together we mapped out a plan for integrating technology that would support and enhance the learning that was already happening.  We decided to begin by adding technology into art, composer study, history, astronomy, poetry, and literature.  I thought about having the students create blogs or wikis to chart and reflect on learning, but in the end decided that Capzles was the best tool for this job.  Capzles lets students organize learning in the form of an interactive timeline.  Students can upload a variety of documents to the timeline including images, videos, documents, and slide shows.  They can also blog directly to the timeline (complete with comments!). The blog feature also provides a way for students to embed other web 2.0 creations.  For the learning that these students will be doing, the visual timeline makes the most sense.  Students can create multiple timelines or compile all of their learning into one timeline.  If students create these timelines based on actual historical dates, they will begin to see the overlap in history, astronomical discoveries, composers, and artists of the time.  This leads to a more complete understanding of how the world that they know has been shaped.

Students can also create a timeline based on their learning, each day adding learning to a virtual “journal” of events.

I have created weblists of the links these students will be using as a part of their learning over the next semester:

To Kill a Mockingbird

Poetry

Astronomy

Art

Composers

History

The tutorial above is a brief introduction to using Capzles, you will have to forgive the drowned rat look…that is what happens when you shovel snow in a blizzard :)

Original post from July 22, 2008:

What it is: Capzles is another interactive timeline maker. I really love all the little extras that Capzleshas! With Capzles teachers and students can add photos, videos, audio, and text to their timeline. Themes, colors, backgrounds, and background music can be added to the timeline making it unique and personalized. Capzles also provides options when sharing your Capzle, it can be private with a specific list of who can view the Capzle or made public for the world to see.

How to integrate Capzles into the classroom: Obviously Capzles is a great way for students to create timelines about any subject. The web 2.0 collaborative aspect of Capzles makes it very appealing to students. I think Capzles could also be very valuable in the primary classroom. Students probably won’t be creating their own timelines in Capzles at this age, parent helpers paired with students to create simple timelines would be appropriate. Because Capzles has the capability of adding audio, photos, and text, it would be the perfect place to record students reading throughout the year. As you assess student reading through reading records, record the students using a program such as GabcastGcast,Audacity, or Garageband. Take a digital picture of the student reading. Throughout the year, you can make a Capzle for each student. This is an excellent motivator for students, especially your struggling readers. Students can see their growth throughout the year in pictures, and hear their reading progress made throughout the year. You can share the Capzle with parents (they will go crazy for this keepsake!) and with the students future teacher. How much would you love getting a timeline of your students from the previous year? You would have a jump-start on their struggles and strengths in reading as you quickly flip through their timelines. Cool huh?!

Leave a comment and share how you are using Capzles in your classroom.

Comments (15)

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, Melissa Techman, ktenkely, ktenkely, ktenkely and others. ktenkely said: @PeterMulleners Here is my capzles tutorial: http://t.co/PRY6Nns [...]

How clever of the school to ask you to help! Thanks for sharing the tutorial on Capzles – it sounds brilliant.

Kelly, I really like the plans for using this visual timeline for pulling together the pieces and artifacts of learning. What a great way to use a timeline. :)

This looks like a great tool for our classrooms! This was the first time I had heard about Capzles. Good luck to you on introducing the 8th grade to the wonderful world of technology. I’m sure it will be an adventure.
Quick question: What were the names of the tools you recommended for students to create their own mp3 music files?

Kelly this seems like a great tool!
Also thanks for the mailinator.com idea. I have some users for my site that want kids to sign up but don’t want them to have to create email addresses (which are required) so this seems like a perfect solution.

You are welcome, mailinaitor.com and tempinbox.com are SO great for required email addresses.

Thank you Manuel, Capzles is fantastic…used it for the first time today with students, it was a BIG hit :)

Tools to use for mp3 music files: Garageband (Mac), Audacity, Myna (aviary.com)

Thanks Melissa!

Thank you Susan, Capzles really is brilliant, the way that it allows students to combine and organize other web tools is fantastic!

[...] these videos in their own history Web 2.0 creations and presentations.  I’m currently using Capzles with a group of 8th graders and imagine them embedding these videos in their timelines along with [...]

[...] mission, they add images, reflections, and information to their timeline.  I have to say, the Capzles interface is turning out to be the perfect place for them to collect all of their learning and [...]

[...] format. (see the examples below) If you are interested in learning more you MUST check out this blog post and video by Kelly Tenkely at iLearn Technology…she also has made a fantastic video [...]

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Capzles Interactive Timeline Tutorial [...]

[...] iLearn Technology » Capzles Interactive Timeline Tutorial [...]

How do you set up a classroom account?

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