Never ones to rest idle, our staff have been busy creating resources to help teachers easily incorporate Ideaphora into their lessons. Educators can find video tutorials about using Ideaphora’s features, lesson plans and examples of student maps – and more coming soon! – on our new Teacher Resources page.
New Teacher Resources Available: Lesson Plans, Video Tutorials and More
Project-Based Learning: Essential Questioning
Small children learn by asking questions and testing the answers they receive. This tendency forms the roots of critical thinking. Unfortunately, question-generation eventually takes a backseat to receiving and storing information both at home and at school as children mature. In a traditional classroom, questions are the provenance of the teacher. In a project-based learning classroom, however, questions drive the entire learning process.
Purposeful Planning: Making Curriculum Useful
In my last post, I covered the importance of satisfying students’ curiosity about why they “have to learn” various skills, facts and processes by connecting curriculum to real world applications. Project-Based Learning (PBL) is one important approach that accomplishes this task and far more.
Get Access to New Templates and Additional Resources
On the heels of our PledgeCents partnership announcement, we are rolling out new features and enhancements that deliver a more robust and rich concept mapping experience for both teachers and students. These changes include concept mapping templates, additional open education resources, and improved search functionality.
Ideaphora Partners With PledgeCents
School districts spent more money on digital content and curriculum last year than ever before, according to a recent survey report from The Learning Counsel. With increasing use of digital content in the classroom, it’s imperative that schools support students in deeply engaging with the material so they not only understand the concepts presented but also are able to apply what they’ve learned. We created Ideaphora to address this pressing need.
To ensure that all schools are able to use Ideaphora Classroom, we’ve partnered with PledgeCents, which offers a streamlined way for school leaders and educators to easily raise the funds needed to cover the cost of purchasing annual subscriptions. We want every school and educator regardless of their financial situation or budget to have the opportunity to use Ideaphora to empower their students as they prepare for work and life beyond the school walls in today’s digitally driven world.
Creating Connections = Meaningful Learning
You know the saying “I’ve got too many irons in the fire”? Well, I have my own personal twist on that saying - ”There are fires everywhere, and I’ve got irons in every one of them!”
Being a professional in the field of educational technology, those fires might look like helping other teachers use technology, working with an administrator, negotiating with a vendor, or even working with a family member who knows you can help sync his/her latest device.
One thing we can all agree on in this busy edtech world is that we like resources for integrating technology that engage students, cover standards, promote higher-level thinking, and are (at least close to) effortless to implement. Ideaphora’s web-based concept mapping platform is one of those resources.
I’ve spoken before of my mentor in graduate school, Donald Graves. He used to say that one of the most important questions we could ask, as educators, citizens or even humans, was: What’s it for? Whether an educational policy or a political stance, he’d tell us, “What it’s for has everything to do with what we’re for.”
A Farewell Tour of 2016
This year marked several milestones for Ideaphora - we launched our product out of beta with versions for individual and classroom use. We also have more than 175 classroom pilots in progress. Over the course of 2016, we've shared numerous updates, concept mapping strategies and tips for using Ideaphora with learners of all ages, but our blog readers responded most to the articles listed below. While these posts spanned various subject areas and instructional strategies, they all had one thing in common. They illustrate that concept mapping is an increasingly critical in the age of digital learning as educators prepare students for the college and future careers.
Concept Mapping Strategies for ELL Instruction
As the fastest growing student population in America’s schools, English Language Learners are critical to America’s future economic and civil prosperity. While the achievement gap between native and non-native English speaking students has narrowed, a social and academic chasm persists. Concept mapping is an effective strategy for educators to use to support language learners and prepare them for success in school and beyond.
Concept mapping in math is often overlooked yet it can significantly deepen students’ understanding of mathematical concepts, particularly those that are complex or hard-to-understand.
According to authors Pamela Grossman, Alan Schoenfeld, and Carol Lee, writing in the book, Preparing Teachers for a Changing World: What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do, mathematics education should focus on helping students learn when a particular approach is useful and how to apply appropriately, which greatly depends on robust understandings of concepts. They state, “robust understandings come from seeing the same concepts from multiple perspectives and representing and using them in multiple ways, thereby developing connected webs of understanding rather than rote memorization of facts and procedures. Common Core and other state standards require students learn math concepts as rigorously as they learn skills and fluency, necessitating a shift from past teaching practices. Students must be able to access concepts from a number of perspectives in order to see math as more than a set of mnemonics or discrete procedures.