A Guide to Facilitating an Interactive Learning Project

I have been creating a lot of student projects that use ThingLink as a tool for learning. I have also received a handful of questions from teachers who are highly interested in facilitating a similiar project of their own, but need help with the management involved.

“With so much active student engagement, how do you manage a project like this?”

To answer that very good question, I used MentorMob to create a playlist to guide the project you see below. The playlist takes you and your students through the step by step process of managing the work flow and collaborative group roles, integrating some free and user friendly web 2.0 tools to facilitate the learning process, building the project and turning it in.

A Guided Playlist to Facilitate the Project

http://www.mentormob.com//learn/widget/61812/580/99cc33/3-0

The Final Project

//cdn.thinglink.me/jse/embed.js….

Adapt the Playlist to Launch Your Own Project:

If you think a playlist like this will help you facilitate this type of active and engaging student  project, you can make a copy of it for your own use, then edit it to fit your project. You will find the option to copy at the top of the page when you are viewing the playlist.

Check out more project 
examples on the ThingLink Toolkit

Tag Galaxy

Tag Galaxy is a Cool Tool to visually explore word relationships. Just type in a term and watch a 3D orbiting galaxy of words and their associations evolve  Click on any word to move it to the center of the galaxy, then click on it again and watch the globe populate with tagged images from Flickr.

 Watch Demo

Uses in the Classroom:

  • Project Tag Galaxy on a wall to help students visualize vocabulary words, ideas and concepts.
  • Display Tag Galaxy on an interactive white board and let students touch the globe and explore. 
  •  Use the photos to prompt creative writing.
  •  Engage students in a guided visual search.
  • Start a discussion about word relationships


The Blooming Orange

I’ve always been interested in new ways to view and think about Bloom’s Taxonomy and the folks at Learning Today have created a poster worth sharing. To help teachers get thinking about ways to apply Bloom’s higher-order thinking skills in the classroom, they’ve put a spin on the traditional hierarchy and  limited the number of verbs in each section to create The Blooming Orange.

They’ve popped Bloom’s verbage into the segments of an orange and intentionally depicted it as a circle to illustrate the fact that often these skills do not occur in isolation, they often occur simultaneously. This Blooming Orange presents itself as a teacher-friendly tool for planning and possibly an easier way for everyone to think about Bloom’s. Be sure to click on the link below to visit the Learning Today blog and print a copy of this poster to hang  in your classroom.

Cool Tools for Teaching Vocabulary


I spent the first part of my summer working with teachers to help them learn to use technology as a tool for differentiating reading instruction to help all learners succeed. During that time we experimented with many different tools for teaching vocabulary. Here is a glance at the list of tools the course participants found to be user-friendly and useful for students and teachers.

Lexipedia
A very nice multi-lingual visual dictionary that creates a word web and defines words based on parts of speech. Use the toolbar bookmarklet for convenience.

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Lingro
An amazing tool that turns all the words in any website or digital text into a clickable dictionary and translates text into 12 different languages.

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Shahi
A visual dictionary that combines Wiktionary content with Flickr images, and more.

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Snappy Words
An online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus that helps you find the meanings of words and draw connections to associated words. 

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Visuwords
Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts.

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The Visual Dictionary
This tool uses photographs of words in the real world to visually explore them.

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Vocabulary.co
A very popular site for vocabulary games.

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VocabGrabber
Copy and paste text into the box and this tool generates a word cloud to identify the key vocabulary. Sort words by content area.

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Wordsift
Place text into a box and then press sift to create a word cloud in which most frequently used words appear larger in size.

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Wordia
A tool that uses video to make personal connections for users. The school account keeps it safe for students and allows students to create their own video definitions and schools to build their own  dictionaries.

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Wordle
Use this word cloud generator to identify key vocabulary in digital text. Try copying and pasting more than one related article into Wordle to get the big picture.

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WordStash
Teachers can sign up for a free account and create word lists to support written text. With a click of a button, students can access dictionary information and create flash cards for review.

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info_onweb.jpgTag Galaxy
This tool creates a 3D orbiting galaxy of words and their associations  Click on any word to move it to the center of the galaxy, then click again and watch the globe populate with images from Flicker. This is a must see.




WordStash: Build Vocabulary Cards

WordStash is a dictionary based website for helping students learn vocabulary and more. Teachers can sign up for a free account to create and store word lists to support written text. With the click of a button, users can access definitions, example sentences from context  and pictures to support the word. Once created, teachers will have a set of digital flash cards to use to help students practice the words and concepts through a couple of no-nonsense games and quizzes. Students can access the vocabulary activities through a link, without logging in.

At first glance, this seems like a handy tool for reviewing vocabulary, but after experimenting with the tool myself, I realized that the tool can also be used to help students build their own knowledge about vocabulary terms and concepts, which makes it a much more appealing tool.

At  it’s most basic level, users can create a word card in a few quick and simple steps.

  1. Add term
  2. Choose the appropriate part of speech from a list.
  3. Click on the appropriate definition to add it to the card.

  4. Add an image from the Flicker or Wikipedia database. 

Following those steps will yield word cards like the example below.

 

    My goal with this activity was to create word cards to support understanding of The Louisiana Purchase, so I decided to dig a little deeper to create a more fine-tuned word card. Here are the modified steps followed:

    1. Add term
    2. Choose from a list to determine the part of speech
    3. Read the given definitions, then search for an article on the Internet that uses the word in context. Word stash has a button to find context clues, but I found it easier to do my own search.
    4. From the context, develop your own definition of the word. Type that definition on the word card..
    5. Add a more accurate image from the database by typing in a more manually adjusting the search term. In this case, the term “territory” yielded a generic image, but type in “Louisiana Purchase” did the trick.

      Truly, by building my own specific vocabulary card I also developed my own understanding of the word as it was related to the content and I think this could be a very meaningful activity for students.

      Sign up for a free teacher account and try WordStash for yourself.

      Lingro – Turn digital text into a clickable dictionary

      Lingro is an amazing online tool that turns any website or digital text file into an interactive dictionary where users can click on a word to view it’s definition and hear it’s pronunciation. Support by 12 languages, Lingro is also a very useful tool for translating text.

      Lingro is easy to use. Just copy and paste any web address into Lingro’s web browser and click on a word, or use the file viewer to upload a document and translate it in the same way. One of the most impressive features of Lingro is that it stores and remembers all the words you click on and allows you to easily create and store words lists. Then, with the click of a button, Lingro turns your word lists into an online flash card game.

      This tool does not require a login to use the most basic features so it can be a handy tool for students without an email address, but teachers should create a free account to take advantage of additional features, such as storage, history and word lists.

      .Try Lingro for yourself