The Learners: Multiple Intelligences
Howard Gardner developed a theory to describe different kinds of human intelligence. He argues that traditional views of intelligence don't encompass the variety of abilities human exhibit.
Understanding the intelligences of you and your students will help you develop a curriculum that will reach all learners.
Address individual differences through varied activities and approaches that focus on curriculum interaction and multiple intelligences.
Curriculum Content Focus
Begin with your course goals and subject-area content.
How do your learning outcomes connect with others fields of study? In other words, how can you build reading, writing, calculating, information, and thinking into your activities? If you're teaching chemistry, your students who don't excel in sciences may have difficulty. However if you build on their love of reading, writing, discussing, or other skills, they may excel. Check out the Poetic Table of the Elements website as an example.
Explore Multiple Intelligences
Over the past decade the topic of multiple intelligences has been very popular in education. Part of it's popularity comes from its simple logic. Work with student's strengths and build on student's weaknesses.
Let's explore an example of integrating these intelligences into your thinking about distance learning.
Verbal/Linguistic. Ask yourself: How can spoken or written word be used? The Digital Collection at the University of Washington is filled with interesting essays on Native American culture. These text-based resources might be of interest to students who are verbal/linguistic.
Logical/Mathematical. Ask yourself: How can numbers, calculation, reasoning, logic, classification, or problem solving be incorporated? Consider the Daily Math website that explores how math is used in daily life. Calculation tools such as the math calculator would also be of interest to people with strengths in this area.
Visual/Spatial. Ask yourself: How can visual elements such as pictures, graphics, art, color, metaphor, maps, or visual organizers be integrated? If you're studying a historical time period, consider using photographs to generate discussion and understanding. Check out the Hooverville and Suffrage photos from the Library of Congress American Memories collection. If you're working with math or biology, use visuals to show the concept. Consider assignments that use visual tools such as using Inspiration for animal classification.
Musical/Rhythmic. Ask yourself: How can sounds and music including tone, timbre, rhythm, or melody be used? Popular Songs in American History is a website where students can explore lyrics and listen to music from history. The Cool Math site combines music and math.
Bodily/Kinesthetic. Ask yourself: How can movement and hands-on experiences be incorporated? Consider hands-on activities across the curriculum. Check out a genetics activity that involves body characteristics and movement.
Intrapersonal. Ask yourself: How can personal feelings, thoughts, and reflections be used? Consider activities that ask students to reflect on their work using tools such as notestar. Get other journaling ideas from the 42explore on the topic of journaling.
Interpersonal. Ask yourself: How can sharing, cooperation, teaming, and collaboration be used? Look for projects with multiple perspectives that might be ripe for discussions and debates such as the topic of cloning. Check out a website containing student-produced projects.
Existentialist. Ask yourself: How can "the big picture" be integrated? Get students involved with looking at big ideas and questions.
Learn more about Technology and Multiple Intelligences at Teacher Tap.
As you consider your activities for online courses, think about multiple intelligences and the role they play in learning.
Create a list with information about your learners, outcomes, resources, technology, and strategies. Have this list available as you work on course content and activities.
Multiple intelligences are one way to think about individual differences.
Provide resources and experiences to address learner intelligences: