I recently participated in an engaging workshop by Jim Knight (instructional coach guru). My favorite part of the two day workshop was our conversations on thinking devices which are "provocative objects that teachers can use to prompt dialogue and higher order thinking". They also need to be "complex, concise, humanizing, varied and not lame" (Jim Knight, 2010).
When using thinking devices we need to be aware of the kind of learning we want the students engaged in. Jim Knight talked about two kinds of learning when using thinking devices.
1. Mechanical Learning: Mechanical learning refers to the "learning students experience when the knowledge,skills, and big ideas to be learned in a class are unambiguous, when the outcomes are unmistakable and straight forward, and when there is a right and wrong answer that can be clearly identified" (Jim Knight, 2010).
2. Metaphoric Learning: Metaphorical learning requires higher level thinking and "shares attributes with metaphor; it is by definition ambiguous, and functions indirectly. Metaphorical knowledge has no clear right and wrong outcome" (Jim Knight, 2010).
Jim Knight used a variety of youtube videos for his anticipatory sets and it was really neat to see how each video he showed created a positive climate in the room, which is an important aspect of the thinking device as it needs to be humanizing.
Here some videos he shared:
Playing for Change:
Mechanical Learning: Using google earth, have students identify and plot the places where they recorded the song.
Metaphorical Learning: How can we create change through music?
Metaphorical Learning: How can you persevere?
Metaphorical Learning: How can we be leaders?
Metaphorical Learning: How can we motivate people by making something more fun?
Here are a few more sites that could prompt great conversations including:
The Shopping Carts
Anti Boredom Campaign
The World's Deepest Bin
Bottle Bank Arcade
Which sites have you come across that we could add to this list?