Gone are the days when planning and thinking were done mainly by pen and paper.Technology have made it pretty much easier to think in different other ways. Free mind mapping , brainstorming and concept mapping applications are ubiquitous online and more and more teachers are using them . The 21st century education is based , on a large part of it, on the visual output. Students, who due to their excessive use of and exposure to technology have become digitally focused, tend to show more interaction and response towards these visual stimulae .
This visual thinking exhibited by our students can be expressed in many ways. Graphic organizers are one way for visual thinkers to arrange their ideas. There are a variety of ways to express these visual ideas and graphic organizers have several of them including : visual maps, visual organizers, cognitive organizers, concept diagrams, and mind maps.These visual helpers are great learning tools that depict the relationship between facts, terms, and ideas within a learning task. Let us explore some of the ways we can benefit from graphic organizers in our classrooms.
The benefits of graphic organizers in education
- Teachers can use graphic organizers to engage visual learners and help them organize their thoughts
- Graphic organizers help students make powerful connections between ideas and concepts
- They help students develop their convergent thinking by providing a framework for the development of new ideas through analysis, reflection and display.
- They also help students promote their divergent thinking by using such techniques as brianstorming to generate ideas.
- They can be used for developing vocabulary skills and improve reading, writing and communication skills.
- Students can easily learn new concepts and think in new novel ways using graphic organizers
- They help students focus on connections rather than words
- Finally , graphic organizers can help both teachers and students develop creative and critical thinking skills.
Some free resources on Graphic Organizers
The following are some of the best websites where teachers can have free access to a variety of graphic organizers templates and other relevant materials. While this list is not conclusive, I am pretty sure it has all you would need in a graphic organizer.
1- Educational Place
This website contains dozens of pre made graphic organizers that you can easily dowbload or print off to use use in your classroom.
2- Ed Helper
This is another popular website where teachers have free access to a plethora of printable graphic organizers covering all kinds of topics and themes.
3- Education Oasis
This website contains over 50 free printable graphic organizers for teachers to use with their students.
4- Read Write Think
This is one of my favourite resource. It has huandreds of graphic organizers refiined by age, category, subjects, skills and more.
This is also a fantastic web resource of graphic organizers of all kinds. Teachnology even allows teachers to create their own graphics by simply filling out premade forms and templates. It is really great.
This website has over 100 free printable graphic organizers for a wide variety of topics.
Schoolastic has a section called printables where teachers can print, for free, different kinds of visual graphics.
Holt provides a set of free printable graphic organizers covering different topics. Just click on a itle and download it as pdf then print it off.
9- Teacher Vision
Teacher Vision has a collection of ready to use graphic organizers grouped under different headings. Select the ones you want and click on view printable to see and download it.
10- College Cengage
This website has several PDF files containing a wide range of free and printable graphic organizers. Just scroll down to see the whole list ( the structure of this website is not user friendly ).
11- List of Free Mind Mapping Tools
Check out that list of some of the best free mind mapping tools online. You can use them to easily create mind maps and concept diagrams .