One of the sessions I attended at TCEA last week was presented by Debbie Tannenbaum (@TannenbaumTech) of Fairfax Public Schools on “Amplifying Thinking Routines Using Technology.” I have written extensively about Harvard’s Project Zero Thinking Routines on this blog and loved using them with my own students, so I was pleased to not only learn from someone who is using them quite a bit with students, but also has some creative ideas for integrating them with technology.
Of course, I want to emphasize a few important things about Thinking Routines first: most of them are going to be more effective if done collaboratively with plenty of discussion, they need to become “routine” in your classroom (not just one-time-strategies), and they should be visible so students can watch the transformation as more people contribute and deeper thinking occurs. Using technology is not always ideal for doing these; butcher paper, post-its, and markers can often work just as well or better. But there are times when technology can also be leveraged to create powerful experiences with the routines as well.
Debbie did a great introduction to the routines in her presentation, and got the participants involved with Mentimeter and Padlet. Padlet was also an example she used for doing the “See, Think, Wonder” routine as well as “Headlines” and “Color, Symbol, Image”. She demonstrated, “I Used to Think… Now I Think…” in Peardeck as well as Tug of War (the draggable icons can be nice for this). “Circle of Viewpoints” and “Think, Puzzle, Explore” were done using Flip videos. Google Slides worked well for “Connect, Extend, Challenge,” and Jamboard was shown with “Word, Phrase, Sentence” and “Chalk Talk.”
I like how Debbie also summarized the main assets of each tool that lent themselves to particular activities. Certainly you can switch some of them. But, for example if you are using Jamboard with a large group you are limited to 50 participants, while Padlet which has some similarities does not have that limitation. However, Padlet only offers 3 Padlets for free, while you have no limit to the number of Jamboards you can make.
You can read more about some of these routines + technology in this article by Tannenbaum. If you are interested in some PD on Visible Thinking Routines and live in Texas, feel free to contact me (you can see some of the sessions that I’ve done in the past here or I can customize one for you.) I’m sure Debbie Tannenbaum would love to hear from you for PD opportunies as well. I also have a Wakelet collection that includes helpful links to the #VTR books, Project Zero’s Toolbox, and some Google Slides that I’ve created to be used with some routines. And I am slowly adding each free download of my content to a searchable page, where you can filter your search for Visible Thinking Routines.