Thursday, 14 October 2010

Visually engaging students

Know, Want to Know and Learned, or K-W-L is an approach that can be used in lessons to focus attention, help students with listening skills and help keep students interest and is sometimes extended to K-W-L-H, with the last “H” standing for “How can we learn more.” The technique is often used along with reading materials or film which helps students to reflect on what they already know and what they would then like to go on and find out.

There are many different ways to undertake this technique which would all have their own advantages but by projecting using a whiteboard, we have found you can apply this technique electronically, helping to visually engage your class and allowing you to use an interactive whiteboard to get all students involved.

You can brainstorm ideas with your class that they associate with a topic and these can be recorded off the “Know” branch. Once you have exhausted your classes’ ideas, you can move onto asking the class “What they want to know” about the topic. These are often recorded as questions rather than statements so students can see they have found out the answer.

At the end of the session, after the class discussion, you can then discuss what they have “Learned” and how they can learn more ie by looking at other texts or online resources, or for homework. You can then categorize your ideas to note which topics in the “What they want to know” branch have been answered.

After reading the text and "learning" the material, you can then go back to the "K" column and see if any of your prior knowledge was incorrect. Mark any that are incorrect with a category. Then go to the "W" column and categorize any of your questions that the text did not answer. These can be noted for future reference, or again for homework questions.

Fig. 1: Map used in class discussion on renewable energy
Please click on image for full screen view.

We know from customer feedback that MindGenius has been combined with a whiteboard and used in the classroom for interactive learning sessions. A wireless keyboard can be passed around and class members can take part. By logging the feedback and thoughts of pupils in a map they can see their contributions and feel compelled to interact. Harry Hughes, former Deputy Head Teacher at St Andrew’s High School, recognized this method would help him create an effective foundation for getting pupils interest and attention in anger management classes. Doing this helped the students become involved and engaged in classes again.

Have you used MindGenius in the classroom in this way?

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