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Friday, March 7, 2014

Introduction to the web-based thinking tool or construct called Starbursting



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(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 discuss how Starbursting, a web-based brainstorming diagram, can be used to promote skillful, creative and critical thinking in the Judaic Studies classroom.

Assumption: The teacher or mentor teacher has an 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 Starbursting can be applied in the Judaic Studies blended learning classroom, they 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 Starbursting thinking skills tool or construct 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 Blooms taxonomy of educational objectives. We have also shared creative and critical thinking tools developed by Dr. Donald J. Treffinger.. In this post we will share a web-based thinking tool or construct called “Starbursting”.

What is Starbursting?




Starbursting is a form of brainstorming that focuses on generating questions rather than answers. It can be used iteratively, with further layers of questioning about the answers to the initial set of questions.

For example, a colleague suggests a new design for an ice skating boot. One question you ask might be "Who is the customer?" Answer: "Skaters." But you need to go further than this to ensure that you target your promotions accurately: "What kind of skaters?" Answer: "Those who do a lot of jumping, who need extra support," and so on. This would help focus the marketing, for example to competition ice dancers and figure skaters, rather than ice rinks that buy boots to hire out to the general public.

According to http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCT_91.htm there are the four steps involved in Starbursting and they are as follows:

1.    Download the Starbursting thinking skills diagram by clicking here. http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCT_91.htm.

This is what the Starbursting brainstorming diagram looks like:



To copy the Starburst brainstorming diagram right click on the above image or click here.

2.             Record the words "Who", "What", "Why", "Where", "When" and "How at the tip of each point of the star.


3.              Brainstorm questions about the idea or product starting with each of these words: who, what , why, when, where and how.
4.             Depending on the scope of the exercise, you may want to have further starbursting sessions to explore the answers to these initial questions further.

On the next post we will share two examples of how to use the Starbursting diagram for Jewish education and teacher training.

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