Looking for a visual and interactive way for students to display learning? Give SpiceyNodes a try.
This free service lets the user create nodemaps (a.k.a. webs or concept maps) about a topic. What takes this tool beyond traditional webbing and graphic organizers of the past is the user’s ability to customize for an audience’s experience. Images (both uploaded and online) as well as YouTube videos may be added to text. Because this nodemap lives online, it can be linked to or embedded into a blog or webpage. A visitor to the posted nodemap has navigational controls to explore the topic at his/her own pace and with viewing preferences. The visitor also can use a search function to find information in the displayed nodemap, making it ideal for research. All of these features truly make it a tool for sharing knowledge that appeals to many different learning styles and needs. One idea is to have older students create nodemaps on topics that younger students could access since age appropriate resources sometimes do not exist. Since curriculum often spirals, this does not have to be an add-on for older students. (For another example of this older student creation model, see my Mass Confusion post.)
Here is an example of a grade 4 animal research project created by Ms. Sandi Guild. Click away!
Historically, this project has been a word processed report. This project will continue to meet research and organization objectives; however, now, its final product will be in a much more appealing, interactive, and (Do I dare say it?) “spicey” format for sharing with an audience. Please check back at our special blog to see the student self-embedded examples by the end of May.
Good news for teachers! There is an educator resource section at SpiceyNodes. Furthermore, email addresses are not necessary for creating student accounts. (Personally, I like to have an email affiliated with my students’ accounts for managerial purposes, and the Gmail hack method works like a charm at the site.)
As always, I’d love to hear about your ideas or experiences!