Synthesizing information is the way of putting it together n a way that you can hold onto it and remember it. Gardner (2007) noted, “The ability to knit together information from disparate sources into a coherent whole is vital today” (p. 46). This idea tells us that learning to piece together information and remember it is something we need to give our students, an actual learned skill. The mess and clutter of information is coming from so many angles, we synthesize to scaffold upon prior knowledge and learn new things. We are creating a way to store information so it “sticks”. An important part of this process for teachers, is to be able to explain our synthesis of information. We need to effectively explain the things we have stored and synthesized. Gardner’s chapter on the synthesizing mind is broke down in a way that is incredibly useful to reference and use for ideas in the classroom. First, giving types of synthesis, and then breaking down the steps necessary to synthesize information. Reading this chapter while I created the presentation helped guide what type of information I added in, and in what order I added it in.
There are several practical ways that a presentation like this can help foster the development of both the disciplined and synthesizing minds in my classroom. Taking into consideration fostering the disciplined mind, I identified important concepts within the discipline, in this case, our force and motion unit. This presentation isn’t meant to be used in one lesson, it’s to be followed throughout our unit. It will be paired with our text, activities, and other longer videos I like to watch with my students. There is a significant amount of time spent on each part of the topic. The way that the presentation is created approaches the topic from a number of ways. I presented information with text, videos, images, and of course, there will be a lot of discussion. In regards to fostering the development of the synthesizing mind, I really thought about how to organize information in a way that would help students hold onto the new information. I hope the presentation allows them to see and hear the important facts, because I tried to eliminate a lot of the clutter. It’s easy to put a lot of text and pump information into presentations, but I hoped that simplicity would help them knit together the important things without having too sort through an overwhelming amount of facts. In addition, I created a specific starting point so that we created a goal for the unit. I usually practice this, but it’s a great reminder to put it on a slide and create a visual of the goals for the kids.
I was excited to use Prezi, because even though I told myself I needed to start using it this past year, I had yet to create an account. I think presentations like this allow so many great resources to be streamlined together, which is why they are great for helping to foster disciplined and synthesizing minds in our classrooms. I am happy to understand it, and I see how user friendly it is. I think these presentations look amazing and can make such a wonderful impact compared to my some of my old PowerPoints.
Gardner, H. (2007). Five minds for the future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.