Sunday, December 13, 2009

Critical Thinking Tool

This past week, I spent some time searching for a web tool to use for a final project for a graduate course I'm taking. I had this big vision of creating a mosaic of pictures to fit this fairly complicated intersecting circle design that is the crux of the text I read as part of this class. I used google to search for picture mosaic programs, but was not able to find anything. Then, almost by accident, I can across a site called UMapper on a blog that I follow. As it turns out, this is an awesome site and everyone should be thinking about whether or not it is something that can be used in the classroom setting.

I have not yet finished my project for the grad class, but you can view this work in progress if you'd like. I plan to add-in some text to explain the pictures and the intersecting circles. I'm also going to try to add some music to this. I can't wait to experiment with it. I've also been thinking of ways to incorporate it into my teaching. So far, I've thought of several character and vocabulary mapping ideas. I think that there are multiple ways that this technology could be used in a wide array of content areas.

More importantly, this tool is an easy way to escalate the critical thinking levels in your classroom. The conceptual framework developed by students and the huge amounts of choice in design and delivery will ensure that students are using higher level thinking skills. I look forward to playing with this more and thinking about ways that I could use this in my classroom. Please let me know if you think of anything interesting or if you try this out in your classroom.


  1. Thanks for sharing your journey with Umapper. I'm loving the tool and am looking forward to using it with more student projects. You might enjoy previewing some of the finished character analyses by my regular English 11 students. You have to scroll down the page to see the embedded Umapper creations.

  2. Thanks, Lisa! I hope to use a similar sort of strategy with my students. I checked out your wiki--very cool. I'm in the process of developing one to use more regularly with students. I want to make sure it's really, really there before I add another layer of tech on them. My seniors use it regularly, though. Thanks for the post and the link to your wiki!


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