Sunday, September 14, 2014

MASHABLE Synthesis!

This weekend I was in the was in the car with my "hotspot," my husband driving along Interstate 87, when a virtual friend posted a  "" collage  on Facebook.   I commented,  "Wow.  You could use that for Revolutionary War characters and then upload it to ThingLink and add comments." Someone replied, "How would you do that?"  Here's the answer and I challenge any reader to add a "thing link" dot to a character and comment--just as though you were on my collaborative team of 5th graders!

We could do this in education for many uses such as Biographies, Presidents, or Imperialists.  Let's use this American Revolution idea to model.

  • Below is a photo collage created at  This is free and only requiring an account based upon email.  (Yay!)  
  • The photo collage can be downloaded to your desktop, shared on a webpage, Smore, or as here on a blog.  
  • The photo can be then uploaded at -- named -- shared -- and tagged with comments as modeled below.  The comments represent the "thinking" or synthesis required of research that has been previously done.  
  • The only information literacy issue is that when searches the Internet for photos, it does not give you the URL for attribution.  Therefore, this has to be back-filled when you add a Thinglink.  Luckily, when using "old" images and documents, most are within public domain. 

This sample below is what I'm calling "mashable synthesis."  That is, I've used more than one web tool, and the knowledge product intention requires more than fact-fetching.  I am asking students to synthesize facts they have found and draw conclusions.  The essential question for this below would be something such as:  If you were building Wall of Fame for the American Revolution, who would be on it and why?  Tell me in the first person voice of the hero.

It is interesting to note that the new National C3 SS standards really require the students thinking to investigate way beyond merely characters and their roles in the American Revolution and want students to get to deep understanding of conflict and change.   As noted below, they are asking early as 5th grade, for kids to consider the impact of the Revolution upon culture, economics, governance, and the other "lenses" of Social Studies.    

Your state may not have "adopted" these standards verbatim, so it's best to check your local STATE standards, rather than these national ones.  NYS, for example, reformed their SS "Frameworks" aligning generally with national recommendations but not verbatim.

(A piece of) Washington State Fifth Grade SS Standards, for example, looks like this: 

Although our example was cool, it was not rigorous.  It may have required that students synthesize the facts-found, but it did not necessarily meet the new SS standards in Washington, for example. To tweak the this for alignment, we could ask students essential questions such as these below:   

  • How did the culture, governance, economic conditions, compel you to join the  Revolutionary War? 
  • Why did you want to be free? Why did you fight in the American War? 
  • What were the causes of the Revolution from your first-hand perspective?
  • How does the Declaration of Independence reflect the cultural, economic, and governance issues of the time?  
For all these questions, students could still write in the first person voice of the hero, colonist, or activist. This also helps meet CCSS ELA standards and the shift of integrating literacy across the disciplines.  

I trust you get the moral of the story -- When choosing technology for "knowledge products"  insure that what you are planning to do, is aligned with the standards.  We are after all, teaching to the standards…not just having a good idea that is "close".   


1 comment:

  1. I think this is a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing this on my FB page! I hope you don't mind but I sent you a friend request.