In his book, Five Minds for the Future, Howard Gardner posits that one of the minds that we need to cultivate in ourselves and in students is the Synthesizing Mind. In its basic sense, a synthesizing mind can think about and make sense of all the information that is available to us today. “The synthesizing mind takes information from disparate sources, understands and evaluates that information objectively, and puts it together in ways that make sense to the synthesizer and also to other persons” (Gardner p. 3) We do this on a regular basis when we read multiple news reports, when we solve student problems, or when we’re looking for the best way to teach a specific skill.
Digital synthesizing occurs when we are able to understand and evaluate digital information that we find when doing research (or reading on a topic for enjoyment) on the internet. The website eduClipper allows us to do just that. Similar to Pinterest in style, eduClipper allows the user to search for and “re-clip” web links, infographics, images, and videos.
I created clipboard around Dolch sight words that you can find here. Reading and applying these sight words is an important skill in kindergarten, as they are words that are commonly used in the English language and in beginning reading books but often do not follow the standard grammar rules of English. I have found that sight words are not very well taught or embedded in our curriculum, so I’m always looking for new and engaging ways to teach and have kids enjoy learning them.
Although I didn’t think that there was much for me to find and “re-clip” around my given subject, when I searched for Abraham Lincoln as a student conducting research would, I found many more links and images. One benefit on eduClipper is that there are separate log ins for students and for teachers. As a teacher, you can create assignments for your classes and kids sign in using your class code. Students can then practice researching, collecting and synthesizing digital information on their topic – they can even add their own clips from outside sources (say, information found through a Google search.) The best part is, you’ll be able to see what they’re finding.
Unfortunately, I found eduClipper to be a little bit buggy. I had some user problems creating new clips and editing old pins. I thought perhaps that it was a problem with using Firefox, so I switched to Safari – it wasn’t any better there. The copyright on their website is 2013. This leads me to believe that they’re a relatively new company/site that will be upgrading as word gets out and it become more popular. Hopefully, as I use it more, I’ll be able to work out some of the problems and bugs that I’m experiencing.
Gardner, H. (2008). 5 Minds for the Future. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.