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Brainstorming is a technique that allows a group to produce multiple solutions or ideas to a problem or topic. This activity includes many benefits and roles within the process, especially those of cooperation and leadership. The fundamental goal of this activity is to encourage generation of thoughtful contributions to dialogue in an equal and collaborative environment.

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GETTING IT ALL DOWN

Using a whiteboard, paper, or drawing application on a tablet or computer, students work in groups to generate ideas while recording them. All ideas are acknowledged by writing them down.  Students can then share their brainstorms, and the entire class can provide constructive criticism.

Active Learning Technology & Furniture

  • Individual white boards
  • Movable tables and chairs
  • Air media (for projecting/sharing)
  • Available mobile devices

TAKE A CARD

Each student receives a large card or whiteboard. The instructor poses a question or topic, and each student writes one idea on the card or board. The card is then passed to the right, and each student may either add to that idea or pose a question about the idea that can be further discussed in class. Once all cards have been collected, the instructor and class can review them and discuss the applicable questions. 

Active Learning Technology & Furniture

  • Large cards or individual white boards
  • Movable tables and chairs
  • SMART board

RECONNECT, CONNECT, PROJECT

The class is divided into small groups. Each group receives a sheet of paper with 3 columns. Each column is titled Reconnect, Connect, or Project. Under the “Reconnect” column, students brainstorm which ideas, concepts, or principles were discussed in the previous class. A question can be crafted to stimulate conversation. Under the “Connect” column, students make connections between the present material and past concepts. The final column, “Project”, records student insights and the connections they’ve made in other columns. 

Active Learning Technology & Furniture

  • Individual white boards
  • Movable tables and chairs
  • SMART Board (to create master list)

THINK, CLUSTER, REFINE

This can be used as a writing activity. Offer participants a word or topic central to an outcome they need to achieve. Have all participants generate as many ideas as they can that are related to that topic. Each idea should be written on a single, sticky paper. Once all the ideas are finished, participants group those most closely related and write a sub-topic (to the main topic you’ve already provided). Then participants identify connecting ideas, thoughts, or words that link each sub-topic together.

Active Learning Technology & Furniture

  • Movable tables and chairs
  • Post-its and pens
  • Large white board
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ASSESSMENT IDEAS

Class Discussion: Formative
The discussion that results from brainstorming activities are a great way to formatively assess student understanding.

Mind Map: Self-Assessment
Students can create mind maps throughout a brainstorming session to help them assess their understanding of a concept or unit. 

 

ONLINE TOOLS

Google Docs

  • create/manage/collaborate

  • documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms

  • ealtime collaboration

SpiderScribe

  • mind map
  • capture, connect, share
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SUSTAINABILITY: 
Reflect on the importance of one’s role in the greater context. Participate in projects/causes that benefit the larger community (local and global).

INNOVATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING: 
Explore possible solutions. Formulate essential questions; identify and ask significant questions that reflect various points of view. Frame, analyse or solve problems.

COMMUNICATION: 
Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written, and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts.

LIFELONG LEARNING & PERSONAL MANAGEMENT: 
Reflect critically on past experiences to inform future progress. Prioritize, plan, and manage work to achieve the intended result.

INFORMATION & DIGITAL LITERACY: 
Understand the interconnections among systems. Define the need for information. Reevaluate the nature and extent of the information needed.

COLLABORATION & LEADERSHIP: 
Brainstorm ideas in small and large groups. Share and compares results collectively.