So I know that my task this week is to discuss how I would like to redesign any web based resource into a more visually appealing manner…
But after reading I went off in a different tangent (I hope this is ok). I wanted to talk about visible thinking. Patricia Palmer, David Perkins, Ron Ritchhart, and Shari Tishman have put together an amazing website on Visible Thinking. This site takes educators through the process of guiding students through a set of routines which ultimately helps students learn. It visualizes what a thoughtful classroom looks like. See Visible Thinking in Action for an example.
Just the other day, I had a student who was trying to explain a mathematics solution to me. In fact, this student in grade 7 really impressed me deriving a general solution to the problem. I had not expected this from anyone, let alone figuring out and writing down a (n-1)*(n-1) pattern!). Unfortunately she was unable to explain to me her thinking process and how she came up with this solution. She just did it.
In my mathematics class we often perform investigations and to conclude I require students to publish a report on their findings. This may be in the form of a journal, a poster, a video or other method (in fact I would like to include more technology driven journals, any advice on what programs I could use??). Each journal must answer the set of following questions.
(As an aside, I have just recently added in the bullet points and added specific colours to important words to imply and convey meaning. As shared on the Course 3 Flipboard, “The Essential Guide to What Colors Communicate”, the red demands attention meaning they must do it; the Yellow generates optimism while thinking of a hypothesis; the orange is to bring attention to something important, but not quite as important as the first question; the grey strategies are stable as they are always used in our class; the green is to help students grow and learn from mistakes; the purple is to encourage problem solving; and the blue is to give students a secure feeling as they should know their answer is correct.)
Back to Visible Thinking, I often find the hardest question for students to answer is just explaining what they did in the task. But of course this is just making their learning visible. If a student cannot explain what they did to their teacher, their peers, or their parents do they deeply understand the problem at all?
So now where does this come into effect with a redesign? I have already shared a number of the resources with the art teachers in my school, but I will also try to integrate some of this learning with the students. We will talk about spacing, and colours which have a meaning, and flow (in fact I have few examples of very bad flow), simplicity, CRAP, and hierarchy. I want my students to make their thinking visible, but also do so in a manner which allows a reader to find the important information in a quick and easy manner.
*note, I could not find a way to contact the authors of the Visible Thinking website to ask if I could use their images, so I have just linked to their webpage.
**note, I could not for the life of me figure out how to center the embedded webpage…any suggestions? I used to be able to do this!