Disclaimer: This series of articles will feature tools, both on a tablet and on the web, that will allow your students to use their thinking skills in the classroom. Please be aware that we are not advocating or negating the use of technology in the Montessori classroom. We are simply offering a variety of tools that may be effectively used to assist your students with a variety of tasks. Furthermore, we believe that the technology described here is not intended for early childhood and in some cases lower elementary. Each article in this series will present tools that will support the following thinking skills.
For a student, being able to apply the knowledge they have gained is a big step. It allows them to move from the basic thinking skills, of acquiring and understanding facts, to actually being able to manipulate those facts towards obtaining additional and greater knowledge.
MontessoriVirews took at a closer look at some of the technology that is out there and which claims to support the application level of critical thinking. The following platforms showed a particular affinity for actually supporting critical thinking skills.
Pic-collage – pic-collage.com
Pic-collage is an app and a platform that allows the user to take their pictures and by applying templates, stickers and other graphics, create images that evoke a feeling, a passion, while at the same time, being able to provoke thoughts which rouse emotions, and foster complex ideas. Pic-collage is available for all mobile devices including amazon fire, kindle, android, windows, and iOS.
Prezi – prezi.com
According to the developers of Prezi, this is a new and better way of creating presentations. By Prezzi's standards a truly better presentation is one that makes use of all three elements:
Effective engagement of the audience
Provides a persuasive argument, and
Creates a memorable experience
Prezzi provides users with the tools to employ all three elements. In return students are able to create better presentations that allow them to not only get their message across but create a sense of community and involvement. The app is solid and backed with data supporting the reason for using each of the tools. If used appropriately and applied correctly, the story being told is a indeed a more convincing story that appeals and engages. Magisto – Magisto.com
Magisto, an app that is available for both iOS and Android, allows students to create videos that convey a more personable message. The process of creating such a movie is designed to be straight forward and quite easy. Videos are easy to pull together; the music is provided along with the themes. Students start off by combine pictures, and video, to create their clips. They then choose a theme, add the music and, quite literally, the app does the rest. What results are appealing stories that have a very compelling look and allows for a central message to be conveyed. However, if you are looking for a more controlled application of creating your movie, this platform is not the right one for you.
This app is great if your students do not know, or want to know how to use such programs as Adobe Premier, and iMovies.
Animoto – animoto.com
Animoto is incredibly similar to Magisto. Both programs allow the students to create videos by combining pictures, and movie clips. Both apps provide them with themes, and music to accompany their creations. Although Animoto tends to be a bit more expensive than Magisto, it does allows for voice-over recordings and a more advanced presentation and manipulation of your story timeline. Videos may be exported to 1080 ppi and then burned onto DVDs that can be played on a home DVD player or uploaded to a variety of social media platforms. When all is said and done, Animoto is an excellent app that allows students to convey their message effectively. The library of royalty free music, the themes they provide and the control it has over the finished product, it more than justifies for the higher subscription price.
Weebly – weebly.com
If you plan on implementing website design in your classroom where students take the information and knowledge they have gathered and create a website, this is one of the tools you should definitely consider. Website design comes to life with Weebly. The templates are provided making it easy to modify and apply. Weebly has tried to make website creation easy by removing the need for code. Therefore, if teaching HTML code is what you are after, this is not the way to do it. Nonetheless, the platform allows for visual learners, and creatives to shine. Students can create something they can present in a large way! Something the entire world can appreciate.
In conclusion, if your students are new to web design, or if this is your first approach towards introducing the skill of web design to your classroom, we strongly suggest you take a closer look at this app.