Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brainstorming/Concept Mapping Tools

I am a very visual person. I love scrapbooking and so I’ll play with the page layout several times before finally piecing it all together. Digital scrapbooking is very popular now among scrapbookers, and so I’ve drawn a connection between brainstorming/concept mapping tools and scrapbooking. Isn’t this what we want our students to do; create connections and use prior knowledge??

For another ETEC class, I used Inspiration (which is an example of this type of academic software) to create a visual representation of what my understanding of diffusion of innovations looked liked. Inspiration was fun and easy to use. I teach at the secondary level so we don’t have this software available to us for student use. Inspiration reminded me of old concept map handouts copied from books or made by teachers. In this age of technology, we can put the computer to use in how we make connections, relationships, and organize our thinking through graphics and text.

I hadn’t thought of using Inspiration for cooperative learning like the book mentions. I really like this idea. Brainstorming is an important tool when generating ideas together in a group. Even Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have visual diagrams and clip art that can be inserted similar to commands/options in Inspiration.

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