Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pinball - Tools for Organizing Ideas

Pinball is a suite of fun tools from the BBC for organizing ideas and generating new ideas. In Pinball you will find tools for creating mindmaps, outlines, and simple slideshows. Pinball also has tools to help you brainstorm and generate new ideas. Each one of the six Pinball tools provides options for including text and images in your mindmaps, outlines, and slideshows. If you're struggling to think of new ideas, each Pinball tool has a "lucky dip" button that will serve up a random image or bit of text to prompt you.

Applications for Education
All six of the tools in the Pinball suite could be very useful for students. The three that stand out the most to me are Dot Dash, Wild Reels, and Live Wire.

Dot Dash is a template for creating webs of ideas. Each part of the web can have text and images in it. It could be very useful for students who have a lot of ideas but aren't quite sure how to connect them all yet.

Wild Reels uses a virtual slot machine format for mixing up ideas. Students type in topics, type in keywords, and enter images in each of the slot machine reels. Then when they click spin the ideas and images are mixed up. I think of the final product as Mad Libs in a casino. Wild Reels could be a great creative story starter.

Live Wire allows students to organize their ideas sequentially and build a small slideshow. Each frame in the slideshow can include text and images. Rearranging slides is a simple drag and drop process. To eliminate a slide just "x" it out. After creating webs of ideas with Dot Dash and spinning ideas in Wild Reels using Live Wire could be a great way for students to publish their stories.