Sunday, May 27, 2012

Physical Webs on TV: Castle


In a recent episode of Castle (which I love!) entitled Linchpin, Rick and Kate walk into a room to find a big Physical Web!


Although the show demonstrates, from time to time, a one-dimensional mind map (as seen above), a Physical Map had not been used until the Linchpin episode.


The Linchpin episode's Physical Web was made up of connecting strings, pictures, words, and other types of media.


The message all too sobering!  Hope it isn't true-although the premise is definitely possible.

So, get with it!  Physical Webs rock! and are being used to help people THINK-even creepy criminals!-although fictional!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Create A Physical Web With An Apple

A Physical Web, which is a three-dimensional, kinaesthetic Mind Map, can be created using any Participatory Manipulative (PM).

One easy way to do this is by using an apple, toothpicks, sticky notes, blu tack and markers.

First, read or dissect the information to be used, learned, created, or dissected.  Write keywords or ideas on sticky notes.

Then attach the notes to the toothpick using blu-tack.  Place the toothpicks into the apple in any design or manner. 

Some students omitted the blu-tack and simply pierced the notes 
with the toothpicks to attach them.  

Students create a web of the information to be learned.

This method allows the information to be seen, touched and organised.  Through this process, the kinaesthetic nature of the activity allows for greater comprehension and learning.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Hands On, Flat Physical Web

I'm currently teaching Sociology of Children, Families and Society in the Education Dept at Southern Cross University.  It is an awesome subject as it deals with the issues that teachers must face in the classroom in the form of their students.  The subject is designed to make them "THINK" about their prejudices, preconceived notions, and also to make them aware of the many sociological issues out there that can impact their students.

Yesterday I tried a new version of the Physical Web using only post-it notes (coloured) and white board markers.  Each group of students was given a discussion question that they were to dissect, discuss and,then, debate the pros and cons.  A final segment of this activity was to present their "thinking" to the class.

In an effort to engage the students more deeply in this activity, I asked each group to build a Physical Web of their ideas.

After each group worked on their question, they then presented the Physical Web to the whole class, who walked around to each table.

It was a roaring success!  Students really seemed to enjoy the process.  They liked being able to get up and move around.  The discussion within the group flowed quick and deeply.  Students commented that they finally understood what we were talking about!

This activity could be used in any situation, with any topic, and across any subject.  I encourage you to give it a go!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Journal Article on Physical Webbing!
I've been working on this article for about two years.  It is finally coming out now in the Journal of Active Learning in Higher Education.  For the link to the journal, click here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Visual Maps, Salt Dough Maps, Participatory Manipulatives

On a recent surf to - - I found an amazing example of visual mapping.  In a post on "The 11 Best Art and Design Books" by Maria Popova, a book by Paula Scher was reviewed.  The book titled, Paula Scher's MAPSdisplays 39 of her wonderful typograhicmaps in a large-format volume.  Scher's maps are " remarkable, obsessive, giant hand-painted typographicmaps of the world as she sees it, covering everything from specific countries and continents to cultural phenomena," according to Popova.
To me, this is a beautiful example of a mind map gone crazy!  To Scher, this map would make perfect sense.  The connections, HER connections, are visible in the map.  Although amazing to look at, these maps would not hold the same meaning to each of us as they do to her.  To make similar connections, we would each need to make our own typograhicmap. NOT a bad idea!
I remember making "salt maps" as a kid as a homework project in primary school.  They were especially helpful in the understanding of the world and its geography.  In my opinion, it is one of the best examples of Participatory Manipulatives.  In our family, everyone got into the act - Mom helped to measure and mix the ingredients.  Dad helped get the board ready to put it on and looked the information for the countries up in the Britannica Encyclopedia.  Brothers and sisters either helped or hindered depending on the mood of the day.  But ALL were involved.  This is the beauty of Physical Webbing and the use of Participatory Manipulatives.  Total involvement of all the senses (especially the physical/kinesthetic = hands) in the learning process will result in greater retention and therefore, greater learning.  A great website showing how to make a salt dough map is HERE.  Recipe for making salt dough maps.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Imagination! Don't undervalue it!
This actually says it all.  Imagination is so undervalued.  The kid with the crazy idea is told to "get real", when he should be congratulated for thinking of something different!  Never undervalue one's imagination.  It keeps the world fresh and thinking.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm NOT Crazy! Another Fine Example of Using Pool Noodles to Teach!

I know that some of you thought I was crazy when I first brought out the pool noodles in our Education classroom at Bond Uni.  However, they are so perfect for teaching!  They have many uses and are super versatile!  So here are just a couple of links to some examples on how others are using them - both at the university level, as well as primary. Click on the links below to learn more about each.