The previous post in this three-part series provided some background in how to recognize and teach critical thinking skills and, using Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy as a guide, embed the higher-order thinking skills into teaching and learning. This time and in part three, I will provide some activities and the iOS apps and tools to support them!
Susan Brooks-Young, in an article in THE Journal, takes a look at some ideas using technology to encourage higher-order thinking skills. Let’s look at a few of these and a few that I have developed.
Activity 1: One Minute Video Summary
One fun activity is for students to create is a one-minute video summary of a book being studied or a video watched in class. In small groups, students analyze the item, evaluate what important information must be incorporated into the one minute summary, and create a video in one take.
Each student will have access to a Padlet page (figure 1), an online backchannel tool, to to brainstorm the aspects of the film or book they want to include and then organize the notes after evaluating what is important to include in the final video.
Once the storyboard is finished, students need to develop a script. They can do that with a shared Google Doc or locally on the mobile device with Pages or Word.
The students can use any iOS video app to shoot the video. I am partial to iMovie since students can shoot the video live right in the app (figure 2).
You can view a sample of this type of activity, which is a one-minute summary of the movie Forrest Gump, here.
A related summarizing activity might be creating a comic strip from the book or movie’s main points. This can easily be done with a drawing tool app. There are tons of drawing apps available, but one that has easy to use tools is SketchBook Express (figure 3) for the iPad from Autodesk. It has tons of brush tips for students to use, up to three layers, easy-to-move drawn items, a 2500% pinch-to-zoom, and the ability to come back and work on the creation later and save the final product to the camera roll.
Activity 2: Infographics
Infographics are a great way to have students work on the higher order thinking skills. Anders Ross offers my favorite definition of an infographic.
“Information graphics or infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics are used where complex information needs to be explained quickly and clearly, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education.”
The process of creating an infographic has a few components. The first is having students become familiar with visualizations so they have some idea of what is possible when thinking about how they are going to represent data. You can have them analyze scenarios about how they might use the various visualizations. (figure 4)
Students need to manipulate any numerical data they have collected and create graphs, which get saved to the camera roll as images. These can be from Numbers or Excel for the iPad. Another app to start students thinking about visualizations is Easy Chart. (figure 5) If the data is already compiled, EasyChart allows the student to create bar, line and pie/sidebar charts and think about which type is the “best” type to represent the information.
For the final creation of the infographic, if the student has Keynote or Powerpoint for the iPad, either one can make a serviceable infographic. There are also apps for the iPad that are specifically developed for the creation of infographics including easel.ly, GlogsterEDU (figure 6), and Canva.
Activity 3: Five Photo Stories
Five photo have students telling a story with five images and no text or audio. There is a group on Flickr for Educators to provide guidelines and showcase examples of these. Here is a sample from Flickr titled “Worm Attack”. The guidelines for students to think about are to:
- Establish character and setting
- Create a situation with multiple actions
- Engage the character in the situation
- Build toward a likely outcome
- End with a surprising – but logical – finish
One of the iPad apps that would help create self-running movie of these photo stories is Pixntell. The app allows for 5 images for no cost, although there is a watermark in the free version. You simply bring in the photos or take them within the app, edit or rearrange them, record no audio, and a movie is created (figure 6).
In part three of this series, I will provide you with some app-smashing and literacy ideas to encourage students to think!
Do you have some lessons that technology has enhanced and target the higher-order thinking skills? Please leave a comment with an overview or a link to your online lesson. Or, if you have other resources to share on this topic, feel free to add them, too!