Thinking with Technology
Module 8 - Considering the Seeing Reason Tool for Your Project
Seeing Reason - Guidelines for best practice
Learn the tool by using it. The no-frills simplicity of the maps is intentional. learners spend
little time on learning to use them and quickly turn their attention to
the complexities of the problem they are exploring. Teachers find that
a short 5-to-10 minute demonstration of creating factors and defining
relationships followed by hands-on time building a sample map is
sufficient preparation for first-time users. learners’ natural
trial-and-error tendencies will give them further confidence with the
features of the tool.
Use the tool in groups—pairs is ideal. On the road to “making thinking visible,” the tool makes thinking discussible.
Because map building naturally elicits debate and discussion about what
is going on in learners’ minds, the maps are, most importantly,
for groups. Teachers find that pairs of learners work best, with
regular rotations between one at the keyboard and one keeping track of
Teachers also offer one important ground rule—both members of the team must “own” the factors and relationships defined in the map. That is, each team member must be able to support the presence of a factor or relationship with evidence or reasoning. On occasion, learners will disagree about adding factors, reporting that a partner “won’t let me add my factors!” Encourage teams to first find factors that they can agree on, and then to look for and discuss evidence for the factors they disagree on.
Junior Primary classrooms present a different challenge. The most effective way to use the Seeing Reason Tool is in a whole class activity where the teacher facilitates the building of the map.
Not all work and discussion occurs at the computer. The mapping tool supports investigation that occurs in cycles of evidence gathering, map building, and reflecting. After building an initial map that taps learners’ prior knowledge, learners experiment or research to gather more data and evidence, and then return to revise and adjust their maps. Teachers report that journal reflections are essential to focus and refine work. Learner pairs can end a map-revision session (developing new factors and relationships) by printing the revised map and leaving the computer to discuss and write a conclusion or summary for the day’s work on a problem. learners also need time away from the computer to plan and carry out the next cycle of data gathering.
Guide learners in distilling essential information in their maps. As investigations proceed and maps evolve, many learners begin to collapse and categorize factors on their own. Other learners need prompting to consider extraneous factors and possibly conflicting relationships (for example, arrows going both ways). Some learners maintain a boneyard of unused factors off to the side of their maps. It is valuable to discuss these irrelevant factors and confusing relationships with the map builders, encouraging them to distill the essential information to evidence-based relationships among factors.
Recognize when maps are done. Naturally, the complexity of learner maps will vary widely—some learners reach a finishing point quickly on their own while others are never done, as if the goal is quantity of factors and a messy spiderweb of relationships. You will find that the lingering map builders begin to recycle old ideas—for example, adding “new” factors that are new in name only (adding boulders or pebbles when rocks is already a factor). Remind them that simple maps can get the job done.
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Intel® Teach Programme