bee 1Swarm 5: Organizers

Digital learners need to be able to use tools for processing and organizing information.

The Old Way... Use productivity tools such as word processors and spreadsheets.
The New Way... Use dynamic tools for organizing and calculating information.

On this page, explore tools building a personal learning network including charts and graphs, graphic organizers, timelines, and citation tools. Then, choose three practical applications to keep your classroom "hive alive"!

Charts and Graphs

Many great online tools are available for creating graphics.

If you want to get your students involved with some basic programming, try Google Chart Tools.

Compare the features of each tool. As you evalute, consider ease-of-use and look to see how the visual can be shared. Can it be copied or saved for use in a document? Can it be printed?

Use existing data to create a chart, grap, or map.

Explore the existing data sources. Design an activity that involves students in making comparisons.

Graphic Organizers

Concept maps are a great way to organize information. In the past, Inspiration software was the first choice. If funding is available, try Webspiration from the makers of Inspiration.

Many times you begin a project from scratch. Look for simple tools for basic maps.

Compare two concept mapping tools. Sitting side-by-side create a concept map categorizing holidays. What tool was easiest to use? What are options for saving and sharing?

For many students it's nice to have a starting point. Exploratree provides wonderful templates to get students started.

Explore Exploratree. Select one of the organizer types and create directions for an activity.


Think about assignments that involve chronology. Ask students to organize their thought or information about the project chronologically.

Many tools provide opportunities for Mashups. For instance Myhistro combines a timeline with a map.

Design an activity that involves students creating a shared class timeline. Ask each student to add one item to the timeline. Then, design a second activity where students create timelines from scratch.

Citation Services

It's important for students to cite the works they use in their assignments. Citation tools make this easy.

Create the same citation using each tool. Compare the tools. Select one that best matches the need of your grade level or school.

Keeping the Hive Alive

To help students become more effective organizers...

Use the following activity starters to practice the role of organizer:

  1. Focus on the Tool. Work in pairs using the same information. Compare two mindmaps. How are the tools alike and different. Which to do you prefer? Why?
  2. Focus on Collaboration. Ask students to add to the work of a peer. What could be added that would expand a project without interferring such as inserting a new example, showing a new relationships, adding a character, or including a cause or consequence.

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