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Friday, May 10, 2013

Introduction to Visual Ranking, a web-based tool for skillful, creative and critical thinking

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices, and demonstrate how these best practices can be applied in the real (i.e. physical) and virtual (i.e. online) classroom for both teaching and teacher training. The combination of face to face instruction in a physical setting and online learning is called blended learning. In this section of the blog we will describe how the internet can serve as a supplemental resource for instruction and the mentoring of pre-service and in-service Jewish educators. In this post we will begin our discussion of how Visual Ranking can be used to promote skillful, creative and critical thinking in the Judaic Studies classroom.

Assumption: The teacher or mentor teacher has a interactive white board (i.e. SMART Board, Promethean, etc.), a Tablet PC (also called a Slate or Blade), a computer presenter or computer with internet access attached to an LCD projector in the classroom. It would be ideal if students or mentees had access to their own laptop computers or Ipads. Given parental and school approval, and the development of specific guidelines, smartphones can be used to enhance instruction as well.

Note: Although the Visual Ranking cognitive tool can be applied in the Judaic Studies blended learning classroom, it can be also be used for training pre-service and in-service Jewish educators for professional or staff development. It is our hope that Jewish educators around the globe will form an online community of practice, a CoP, a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession, to enhance the delivery of instruction and training of Jewish educators. For example, here is a CoP you might want to join. 

Note: The Visual Ranking cognitive tool can be used in a face to face and virtual classroom.

In previous blog posts we have defined thinking skills and processes, creative thinking, critical thinking and Benjamin Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. We have also shared creative and critical thinking tools developed by Dr. Donald J. Treffinger

What is the Visual Ranking online thinking tool?

According to the website, Technology Integration: Meeting Students in Their DigitalWorld, , visual ranking “ is an online tools that allows students to order items in a list, describe the rationale behind their choices, and work with other groups to make  comparisons and spark discussions.”

How does Visual Ranking empower students to place in priority order, justify, and discuss a list of different options?

Click here and see a video explaining how the visual ranking online thinking tool empowers students to prioritize, justify and discuss a list of different options. 

Then click here to see a demonstration of how the web-based visual ranking tool works. 

For additional resources on Visual Ranking refer to the sources listed below:

Below please find an example of the web-based Visual Ranking Tool on the topic of inventions[1]:

On the next post we will discuss how the web-based thinking skills tool, Visual Ranking,  can be used to promote instruction in the blended learning classroom.

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