Enhance, Modify, and Redefine

Transform Visual Thinking Routines with #EdTech

Here is a list of Core Visual Thinking Routines, some of these are easily enhanced with the use of technology in the class and some aren’t. Before we set on our planning let’s create criteria that will help us to define if we should bother or not. I use this wonderful flowchart from Alice Keeler: using-digital-flowchart-2 1

Visible Thinking Routines:

What Makes You Say That? Interpretation with justification routine
Think Puzzle Explore A routine that sets the stage for deeper inquiry
Think Pair Share  A routine for active reasoning and explanation
Circle of Viewpoints A routine for exploring diverse perspectives
I used to Think… Now I think…  A routine for reflecting on how and why our thinking has changed
See Think Wonder A routine for exploring works of art and other
interesting things
Compass Points A routine for examining propositions 2

As I said most of these will be relatively easy to do online, but how can we make sure that the use of #EdTech is pedagogically sound and that it has improved or enhanced the learning experience? My primary motivator for using any kind of technology in teaching is about transforming a single aspect of learning: Provocation, Inquiry, Collaboration, Communication, Reflection, or Documentation. Therefore my choices sometimes seem a bit unorthodox, but there is a method in it. Since the rationale is that one aspect of the learning experience needs to be either enhanced or transformed, then it becomes a more manageable task to choose.

The main driver for me lately to integrate and to do blended teaching has been about voice. Giving all learners an opportunity to be heard and still interact. To facilitate a variety of experiences in the classroom so that all learners feel empowered. Visual Thinking Routines gives us a wonderful framework and tools to do this. What I have noticed though is that sometimes they are dominated by a certain type of learner. Integrating a tool like Seesaw, Socrative, GoFormative and/or Google Forms allows us to extend their thinking moment, make sure that every member of the class has a chance to be recorded and given feedback. Working collaboratively is dependent on the relationships of all learners in the classroom, building a safe environment sometimes requires anonymity or access to tools that enable non-writers to record their voices to be heard.

For a long time, I have not been a fan of KWL or Brainstorming. I mean that I do like them as from a social skill and team building point of view, but as learning experiences to generate high quality, innovative, and creative thinking not so much. This has now changed after I started using Padlet in the classroom. During brainstorming, we now do anonymous idea building on Padlet with vigorous criticism and defending. The big aha moment for me was that instead of defending their own ideas students should actually pick the ideas that they like and defend them, also sometimes they should try to poke holes into their own ideas. This has increased the quality of ideas coming from brainstorms and also enhanced chances to be heard for more introvert students.

 These are some of the ways I have done to Enhance, Modify, and Redefine my teaching and the learning experiences, please share yours in the comments!

How Is This Better Than Paper? – Teacher Tech. Teacher Tech. http://www.alicekeeler.com/2016/10/05/how-is-this-better-than-paper/. Published October 5, 2016. Accessed September 25, 2017.
Visible Thinking. Visible Thinking Routines. http://www.visiblethinkingpz.org/VisibleThinking_html_files/03_ThinkingRoutines/03a_ThinkingRoutines.html. Accessed September 25, 2017.
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