ants at picnicSharing Understandings:
How Technology Impacts Learning

How can we make use of the natural interests of children and help them voice their questions and share their understandings?

For example, why are ants good and bad? Are ants "terrible" or "terrific"? Let's share our questions, our exploration, our findings, our decisions, and our reasoning.



marching antsI Like Bugs

How can you collect evidence of student understandings? Use technology tools as a place for students to record their thoughts, ideas, and understandings.

Use books to generate interest in science topics such as I Like Bugs by Margaret Wise Brown .

Think! Create! Share!

Think Create Share


Comics & Graphic Novels

Understanding ComicsconifersPride of Baghdad

Read Understanding Comics and Making Comics by Scott McCloud to learn more about the language of comics.

Go to our ScrapComics pages for ideas and examples including the Powhaten Village 1607 and Conifers examples.

Barbed WireHigh School Example

  • Think: Read the award winning graphic novel: The Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan.
  • Create: Write your own graphic novel set in Baghdad. Use the Comic Life software available for the Mac.
  • Share: Export your graphic novel as web pages. See a sample page - Bombs, Barbed Wire and Baghdad.

Explore additional examples at Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, and Comics.



Paintings, drawings, and diagrams are just a few of the visuals that can be created to share understandings.

Explore open source tools such as TuxPaint, GIMP, and GIMPshop

silk roadMiddle School Example


Visualizing Data: Charts and Graphs

Explore Data and Statistics and and ScrapData websites. There are many online sources for data that's useful in student project such as the Population Reference Bureau.

Use software such as InspireData to organize data.

Intermediate Grades Example


Concept Maps

Explore Virtual Inquiry resources such as concept maps and visual techniques.

You may have used a commerical package such as Inspiration or Kidspiration. You may also have tried open source such as Cmap. Have you tried collaborative concept mapping on the web? Try Thinkature or Gliffy.

The Snake ScientistPrimary Grades Example

  • Think: Read The Snake Scientist by Sy Montgomery, other books in the Scientists in the Field Series, or other books about reptiles and amphibians.
  • Create: Use Gliffy to create a graphic organizer sorting reptiles and amphibians.
  • Share: Use the share button in Gliffy to invite others to expand your exhibit.



the glass bead gameBernie Dodge (father of the WebQuest) suggests combining graphics organizer software and thinking for an engaging activity called The Glass Bead Game. Check out Bernie's example at Gliffy.

Based on the Nobel Prize winning book The Glass Bead Game by Hermanne Hesse set in the 23rd century, the members of society's intellectual elite have developed a popular mental rather than physical sport that kicks-off with a theme. Players then make connections between concepts. Points are scored based on the quality of the idea thread. Analogies are often used to build connections across all disciplines. This classic work of science fiction literature has deep philosophical, political, and social themes, but it can also be seen as a cool idea for a game. Many modern online gamers trace their roots to this book.

The basic concept of The Glass Bead Game can be applied to any body of information and is a great way for students to create elegant connections among concept, support their approach with evidence, and share their understandings. The game is also a wonderful way to show young people that all things are connected. If they've played "Seven Degrees from Kevin Bacon" they'll get the idea immediately.

Explore the HipBone Game and HipBone website.

OklahomaIntermediate Grades Example

  • Think: Identify a theme and a body of ideas and information. Start with simple bodies of information such as terrestrial (land) or aquatic (water) biomes (Use MBGnet, Bug Guide, Fish, and E-nature), periods of history, or novels. For example, build connections among characters, settings, and events in the Harry Potter world. Or, show the connections among life in a biome.
  • Create: Build a concept map game board in Inspiration or other concept mapping software and identify key word or visual bead graphics. Create a set of rules. For example, the connection must be elegant and present evidence.
  • Share: Play the game and show your understanding of the relationship among information.


Electronic Scrapbooking

BreadExplore the E-scrapbooking website.

Middle School Example



book audioStart with simple audio recording projects such as recording audio book commercials.

Explore student podcasts. Download Audacity for a simple audio recording tool.

Primary School Example

  • Think: Read about seeds in books such as The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Listen, then write sentences about seeds using a PowerPoint starter.
  • Create: Write, draw, and record audio. Go to Mr. Gate's class for an example.
  • Share: Share as a podcast on a class blog.



Start with simple projects such as combining still photographs with audio recording using tools such as iPhoto or Photostory.

Also consider simple video recordings without editing that can be uploaded to free space such as YouTube. Examine Morgan's Second Grade Book Report project at YouTube.

High School Example


Put It All Together

wright3Look for technology-enhanced learning environments that allow students to think, create collaborately, and share in a variety of ways using web-based text, graphics, audio, and video.

Intermediate Example

  • Think: Read The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett. Learn more with online activities at A Different Place.
  • Create: Start a wiki in wikispaces. Check out The Wright 3 wiki project.
  • Share: Invite others to expand your wiki.

Explore other examples at ReadWriteWiki.

Desktop Learning Spaces

Go to the Learning Spaces: Desktop Learning Spaces page for links to lots of templates and ideas to get you started.


Developed by Annette Lamb, 2/07. Updated 11/07.