Showing posts with label Visual Learners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Visual Learners. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Collaborative Diagramming Tool Cacoo Leaves Beta

Cacoo, a collaborative diagramming tool that I reviewed when it launched last year, has now left beta. Cacoo changed their pricing structure while leaving beta, but the good news is that they still have a free version and the free version offers plenty of functionality for most classroom uses. The free version allows for 15 collaborators on a diagram and up to 25 diagrams per account.

Cacoo allows you to draw shapes, type, and drag and drop elements of your diagram. One of the unique aspects of Cacoo is that you can also upload images to include in your diagrams. The collaborative aspect of Cacoo is that you can invite other people to contribute to your diagrams. Cacoo allows you to chat with your collaborators in real-time while you work on your diagrams. Watch the video below to learn more.

Applications for EducationFor students that are visual learners, creating diagrams can be very helpful in forming an understanding of concepts. I often use diagrams or mind maps in my US History classes to help students understand how multiple themes apply to a particular event. I can see myself having my US History students use Cacoo to contribute to the creation of diagram about the themes of post-Civil War Reconstruction.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you: - Free Mind Mapping Tool
Flock Draw - Simple, Collaborative Drawing
Lovely Charts - Create High Quality Charts

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trailmeme - Create and Trace Trails of Links

Trailmeme is an interesting new service that could be described as social bookmarking meets social mind mapping. The basic idea behind Trailmeme is that we all have our own way of connecting the things we find on the Internet when we research a topic. Trailmeme provides a way to record those connections and publish them as a mind map or flowchart that Trailmeme refers to as a "trail." When you publish your trail publicly other visitors to Trailmeme can "walk" the trail you created. Walking a trail means that you follow the map of labeled links created by another person. Watch the video below to learn more about Trailmeme.

Read Write Web has a good article about Trailmeme which is where I first learned about the service.

Applications for Education
At first the utility of Trailmeme didn't jump-out at me. After some exploration of the service, walking the history of coffee trail, walking the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Trail, and making my own short trail I started to see its potential in the classroom. Trailmeme could be useful for students to create a visual trail of their research. For the visual thinkers in your classroom the process of creating a "trail" could help those students think about how they are going to put a research paper together.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
18 Formats for Visual Thinking in the Classroom
Seven Tools for Organizing Web Research
Nine Tools for Collaboratively Creating Mind Maps

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lexipedia Webbed Word Connections

One of the best reasons for teachers to be on Twitter is the wealth of knowledge that is shared between users. Today, shortly after someone posted a link to my blog entry about Visuwords two other people posted responses each including a link to Lexipedia. Anne Marie also told us about Lexipedia in her comment on the Visuwords post.

Lexipedia, like Visuwords, provides the definitions of words along with a webbed diagram of related words and their definitions. In addition to definitions and diagrams, Lexipedia offers audio pronunciations of words although when I tested it the audio didn't seem to be working properly. In my side-by-side comparison of Lexipedia and Visuwords, both performed equally well, but occasionally offered different definitions and connections for the same word.

Applications for Education
Lexipedia, like Visuwords, is a good alternative to Visual
Thesaurus. Lexipedia makes it easy for students to explore alternative word choices and connections between words.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Visualizing Cultures

Visualizing Cultures is an interesting project created and developed at MIT. Visualizing Cultures consists of thirteen visual narratives accompanied by essays. The project combines visual narratives and essays to tell the history of Japan since the arrival of Commodore Perry or as MIT describes it, the history of Japan in the modern world. The essays can be read on the website or downloaded as PDF's for printing. Each visual narrative consists of several sections, each section consists of ten to fifteen images with captions. In some ways Visualizing Cultures could be described as an academic picture book.

Applications for Education
Visualizing Cultures could be used at a wide range of grade levels. The essays could be used in a high school history class and the visual narratives could be used in a middle school or possibly elementary school class. Visualizing Cultures provides model for students to use as they create visual narratives of their own.

According to the website, Visualizing Cultures has plans to add visual narratives about China.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Visual Dictionary from Merriam Webster

As Larry Ferlazzo already pointed out today, the Webby Award nominee list can be a good place to find websites appropriate for classroom use. One of the resources that I just learned about through the nominee list is Merriam Webster's Visual Dictionary. The Visual Dictionary is divided into fifteen thematic categories containing more than 6,000 words defined and accompanied by images. You can find words and definitions by browsing through the categorized images or by using the text search bar.

Applications for Education
The Merriam Webster Visual Dictionary could be a great resource for ESL/ EFL students and teachers. Even if your students are struggling to identify the correct words for things, as long as they select the right thematic category they can find the word by looking at the pictures.

For all students the images can help students understand difficult definitions.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Visible Body - 3D Human Anatomy

The Visible Body is a fantastic, free, program that allows your students to virtually explore all systems of the human body. I first learned about the Visible Body through Kevin Jarrett's blog, he used the program with a 4th grade class, but the Visible Body could just as well be used in a high school setting. In fact, the reason that I thought about the Visible Body today is that a science teacher in my school mentioned that she has used it with her anatomy students.

To use the Visible Body you need to install the Unity Web Player for Mac or PC. Once installed you can explore all of the systems of the body. The Visible Body allows students to view bones, muscles, and organs from various perspectives and see how the parts of the body work together as a system.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, the Visible Body can be used my students in elementary school through high school. The Visible Body could be used by students individually or as a group activity. The imagery and explanations found on the Visible Body are far better than those found in most public school textbooks.

Update: Kevin Jarrett reminds us in the comments that if you're going to use Visible Body with younger students be aware that Visible Body is 100% anatomically correct. In that case it's probably best to use Visible Body as a teacher-directed exercise and not a individualized activity.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Free Posters, Free Maps

World Mapper is a unique way to look at data sets. World Mapper is a collection of over 500 maps displaying all types of scientific, economic, historical, and demographic data. World Mapper uses density-equalizing maps to display each country and continent differently based on each data set. For example the birthrate map displays countries with a higher birthrates as larger than normal (standard projection) when compared to countries with a lower birthrate which displayed smaller than normal.

World Mapper
makes 366 of the maps available pdf files that can be used to create posters for your classroom (click here for a land area map). World Mapper also makes available, as pdf files, the data sets used in the creation of each map.

Applications for Education
A brief conversation I had on Twitter today revealed that it's not just history teachers that are fascinated by maps. For teachers looking for something to display in the classroom that might spark academic curiosity, World Mapper could be a great resource.
World Mapper maps provide students with a different way to look at data. Raw data sets alone don't tell a story nearly as well as a visual representation of the data

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wolfram Demonstrations - Powerful Demonstrations of Math Concepts

The Wolfram Demonstrations Project produces some of the best interactive demonstrations of mathematics concepts that I've found on the web. The list of demonstrations is very comprehensive and offers something for every level of mathematics study. The demonstrations can be viewed online, but to make to use the demonstrations interactively you need to download the free Mathematica Player from the Wolfram website. The Mathematica Player is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. Installing the Mathematica Player allows users to download demonstrations and use them interactively on their local computer. The demonstrations available range some very simple concepts like estimating and multiplication of simple numbers to Calculus and beyond.

Applications for Education
The demonstrations available from Wolfram are suitable for upper elementary school students through
collegiate level mathematics students. The interactive demonstrations allow students to experiment with mathematical variables and see the effects of those variables. What is nice about many of the interactive demonstrations is that students can experiment with demonstrations then have the demonstration reveal the answer or rule that applies to the problem.

The image below is linked to an elementary school mathematics demonstration from Wolfram.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The BBC's Day in Pictures - Worth One Thousand Lessons

The BBC runs a feature every day called the Day in Pictures that displays a small collection of photographs from around the world. For years I've used this resource as a conversation starter for current events discussions in my Contemporary World Studies class. The Day in Pictures collections are part of a much larger resource from the BBC simply called In Pictures. The In Pictures resource provides hundreds of images in a variety collections and slide shows about current events throughout the world. Some of the slide shows even include narration. All of the images include captions explaining what is happening in the picture and a little background knowledge about the event being photographed.

Applications for Education
The In Pictures collections from the BBC are great conversation starters for current events discussions. The collections are also great supplementary material for students to use in presentations about current events. For visual learners the images from the In Pictures collections are helpful for providing visual connections and context to a story.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Viewzi - Visual Search Engine

Viewzi is a fun and exciting new search engine. Viewzi is good search tool because it allows users to see their search results without having to click on any links. Viewzi search results are displayed in multiple forms in what are essentially small screen shot images. Clicking on the screen shot enlarges the image where users can read the search results and click on active links. I tried out Viewzi by entering the search term "Battle of Gettysburg" and received results displayed in twelve small screen shots categorizing results as "images", "list view", "video", "weather", "mp3", "books," etc.
Viewzi is still in beta, but they are adding more users every day. I received my beta invite the same day I requested it.

Here is a short video explaining the Viewzi concept.

Applications for Education
Viewzi could be a good way for students to access and compare search results for one topic. The search results are displayed in a manner that makes it easy and intuitive for students to explore text, video, image, and mp3 results in one place.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Visual Geography

Visual Geography is a nice resource for K-12 Social Studies teachers. Visual Geography provides images and information sorted by continent, country, and geographic theme. Visual Geography offers geography quizzes associated with each continent and country. The quizzes are available in four levels from "image only" through "advanced." Visual Geography also offers a nice comparison feature that students can use to compare information about different continents and countries.

Applications for Educators
Visual Geography provides teachers with a resource incorporating information with images. Visual Geography provides simple discussion starters for Geography classes at many grade levels. Here's an example of one way to use Visual Geography to start a conversation with a class, select an image from one of the continents and have students identify the geographic and cultural traits present in the image.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Visual Complexity

Visual Complexity is a website hosting hundreds of images that map complex concepts. The images on Visual Complexity are linked to the websites that developed the concept images. For example, the image to the left is linked to part of a concept map from the Blue Brain Project at IBM Research.

Applications for Educators
Visual Complexity covers numerous concepts related to high school content areas. Visual Complexity is a good research resource for students as it goes beyond simple images by linking to source of the concept image and providing significant background information. In addition to being a good research resource for students, Visual Complexity's concept images are useful teaching resources.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Make Diagramming Easy With Gliffy

Gliffy is a web-based drawing and diagramming program for use on Mac, PC, and Linux Systems. Gliffy can be used to make very simple to very complex technical drawings. The program offers many images and shapes to drag and drop into your drawings. Gliffy drawings are easily emailed and or embedded into the video below explains the Gliffy program.

Applications for Educators
Gliffy could be a great way to have visual learners draw a pictorial outline before writing an essay or giving a presentation. I have recently begun using Gliffy with some students who have struggled to write cohesive essays and their essay organization has improved. Compared to the drawing and graphing features in most presentation programs, Gliffy is an easier way to create graphs and drawings for use in presentations.