By Mark Winegar on Tue, 01/15/2013
“No one man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” - Ansel Adams
We began this journey recognizing analysis, synthesis, and evaluation as the three broad categories of higher order thinking. An expression of such thinking is necessary to document that learning has occurred. It seems natural for this expression to be a recorded presentation (i.e., video or podcast) which can be viewed later and shared with family and peers.
Analysis can be as simple as a description of an idea, book, article, or other artifact. The question is “can the student identify each component and its relationships with other components?”. Analysis can be applied to any subject.
Synthesis is a bit more challenging. It requires creation of something new but it need only be new to the student or community of scholars. It might be a new idea, a service project, a song, a painting, or any other such artifact.
Evaluation is argumentative. The student presents and defends opinions “by making judgments about information, the validity of ideas or the quality of work based on a set of criteria.”
Evaluation should be based on presentation. The student and the ideas presented are inherently valid. I fear high school students may not yet be ready to defend their ideas and asking them to do so may stifle higher order thinking. So let’s wait on that. Focus on more mechanical aspects such as references and citations and following directions.
Let students express themselves!
Keep the recording process simple. Use whiteboard and markers for graphics when needed. We are not concerned with teaching professional podcasting skills at this point. Once the students get used to the idea of making podcasts they’ll branch out in different directions based on what they see in other videos.
The podcast below should be all the information you need to start using Camera on your iPad. Just focus on the student making the presentation. Students can help one another or work in small teams. My advice is to let students do the recording. Get them as involved in the process as possible.
There are plenty of tools available for enhanding podcasts when the time comes.
Keynote and PowerPoint are useful in creating presentation graphics. You can export them as images or print them. Camtasia is a great tool for capturing the activity on your computer screen. You can combine diverse pieces of media with iMovie.
Remember our goal is to engage the students in higher order thinking and the only technology required is the brain. Anything else is optional.
My hope is for incoming college freshman to be better prepared to matriculate because they have been challenged with higher order thinking in the high school. You would be surprised how many of them stare at me like “deer in the headlights” when asked their opinion on current issues.