The "idea manager" is a tool that includes two elements. The first element "Your Ideas" is an editing tool that enables the user to keep track of his or her ideas. In this component users are asked to record their ideas about certain issues in different parts of the project. The user can delete an idea from this existing list or submit a new idea. Ideas must be concise enough to fit on one line but users can add as many ideas as they like to their list. The second element "Connect Ideas" is a drag & drop workspace used to answer questions in a visually representative way. The users are asked to explain their answers using ideas from their list. A user can drag and drop an idea from the ideas list onto an idea workspace, producing a map of connected ideas. These ideas, now connected to different concepts, are saved as the project continues, so that by the end of the project users have a map representing their ideas.
The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
The feature can help learners in three ways. First, it helps students articulate their ideas about scientific issues (e.g. about cancer) in a specific and concise form. Second, it encourages students to build on their ideas, rather than isolate new ideas from existing knowledge. Students’ ideas about science phenomena dictate their techniques for developing an understanding of science. Third, the map of interconnected ideas form a new knowledge web, making thinking visible so that the user can learn about the ideas of others and communicate their own ideas to teachers and peers.
Context of Use:
This feature is part of a TELS project Mitosis & Cell Processes IM (#16326)
Can be added at a later date… preliminary analysis is still under way.
Holmes (in preparation). The Benefits of Sorting Ideas Prior to Making Explanations.