Tuesday, January 22, 2013

21ThingsBCK Thing 8 Visual Learning

I love Wordle and Bubbl.us as tools to help students create non-linguistic visual representations of the concrete ideas they are learning. This last summer I used bubbl.us to help students consider the way they thought about themselves. As they considered the different mental, physical, emotional, and social ways that they described themselves, it opened up their thinking to see where they may need to include activities that were more mental, or physical, or emotional, or social in order to be a well balanced person. The bubbles formed in a wheel with the central spoke being the individual’s name helped them to see how crowded their lives were and if one activity or descriptor should be swapped with another activity or descriptor in order to have a more balanced life. The ability to use bubbl.us to rearrange the spokes, create child bubbles to go more in depth about a descriptor, and see the interconnectedness of certain activities or descriptors was priceless for young people trying to find a balanced life.

Wordle has been a great tool to see how often a particular word or idea comes up in a written document. I have had students take portions of their scholarship essays and look at where they have focused their discussions. It helps them to see if what is truly important to them is what is written about in the document. This is key in being able to help students see if they are writing an essay that meets the requirements of a particular scholarship or if they need to add other content to make the essay stronger. The size of the words in wordle help them to see where the focus is in the essay.

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