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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Teaching and Learning through some Amazing Connecting Websites



Sometimes ephiphanies come from the strangest places:

I learn about so many cool things on twitter, so much so that I even check it before my RSS reader. Today, Sue Roseman talked about visuwords, the online visual dictionary.

Meanwhile, was Skype chatting with my friend, Graham Wegner in Australia, king of smartboards and Web 2 middle school teaching, and I told him about visuwords. He thinks it would be great on the smartboard. Then, he told me about how he likes to use the visual search engine quintura, particularly its kid friendly version quintura for kids.

He said (I had permission to quote him) - this is the skypechat:

[8:40:04 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Look at this super cool site - http://www.visuwords.com/
[8:40:15 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: I'm just flipping out how I'm going to use it in class, just blogging it now.
[8:41:18 AM] Graham Wegner says: brilliant on an interactive whiteboard
[8:41:44 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Have you seen it before? Did you already know about it/
[8:41:45 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: ?
[8:42:04 AM] Graham Wegner says: no - it's a bit like quintura
[8:42:14 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Never heard of quintura -- is it free and great too?
[8:42:15 AM] Graham Wegner says: excellent for brainstorming a topic
[8:42:22 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Oh.
[8:42:30 AM] Graham Wegner says: it's a mindmap style search engine
[8:42:42 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Oh, I need to look at it.
[8:43:13 AM] Graham Wegner says: there's a kids version as well
[8:43:33 AM] Graham Wegner says: http://www.quintura.com
[8:43:35 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Can I quote you on the quintura thing?
[8:43:43 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Where is the kids version of quintura?
[8:43:53 AM] Graham Wegner says: sure
[8:43:59 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: And how do you use it in the classroom?
[8:44:07 AM] Graham Wegner says: http://kids.quintura.com
[8:44:12 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: So cool.
[8:44:39 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: So you use quintura on the smartboard to brainstorm?
[8:44:47 AM] Graham Wegner says: My students used it to work out categories for a topic.
[8:44:53 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Cool.
[8:44:55 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: I love that.
[8:45:03 AM] Graham Wegner says: yes, then the kids did their own on pc's
[8:45:24 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Neat.
[8:45:45 AM] Graham Wegner says: we were looking at What Does It Mean To Be Australian? and someone typed in Australia Inventions
[8:46:02 AM] Graham Wegner says: and then it all opened up different options
[8:46:13 AM] Mrs. Vicki Davis says: Wow!

Well, it turns out that Graham found about the search engine from Derek Wenmoth from New Zealand - Derek is a keynote speaker in IT in Graham's part of the world.

Graham also likes TouchGraph and Kartoo as other examples of visual tools. Graham says:

"[Touchgraph] lets you put in your blog url and it gives you a linked in view of your blogging network."

"Kartoo lets you type in your name to see your web presence (with others who share your name!)"

In fact, Graham sent me a snapshot of the touchgraph he made of my blog -- which is so cool.

So, as I look at these amazing visual organizers and the connections that they make, I think about I have just learned through my own connections: I read about a site on twitter, instant messaged to Graham in Australia and learned from him -- he had learned from a blog in New Zealand.

And you've just read a blog post that has put all of these together with a photograph created in Australia, websites from various sources around the world and put together within about 20 minutes. Amazing.

It is about connections.

It is about being connected and learning through the connections. OK, gotta run.

If you know of any other great websites that teach with visual connections. Please share.

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