Episode 54

"Graphic Organizers"

Duration 00:15:38      Recorded on December 01, 2008

In this episode, Susan and Dan interview Karen Franker, an expert in graphic organizers, instructional tools used to visually represent information.

Show notes:

In this episode, Susan and Dan interview Karen Franker, an expert in graphic organizers. Karen is an instructional designer for the adult student initiative program for University of Wisconsin Colleges, but she also teaches an online class for the University of Wisconsin at Stout on Inspiration & Kidspiration: K-12 Strategies to Build Study Skills & Comprehension. A graphic organizer is in an instructional tool used to visually represent information. Venn diagrams were probably our first exposure to graphic organizers. Even a calendar could be considered a graphic organizer in that it visually organizes our information. Some other terms you might hear include webs, web diagrams, or concept maps or mind mapping.

Publishers of reading curriculum seem to be using graphic organizers more frequently in their materials, and Karen surmises that this is because more kids prefer and respond to a visual learning style, perhaps because of how they are 'wired' differently due to their exposure to technology. She believes this provides an opportunity to present 21st Century learning skills to help students comprehend, organize and think critically about the information they are reading.

The teachers who are taking Karen's class report favorable results as they use these tools with children. Graphic organizers do not teach to the test, and therefore are some schools are reluctant to introduce them. They are seen as frills or a waste of time. Writing teachers sometimes report that students moan and groan at having to organize their writing before they begin, to which Susan relates a story.

Older learners sometimes resist these tools only because they are unfamiliar. Making a diagram of important points or summarizing a chapter would be an example of an assignment Karen might give. She reports that some students are visually resistance and take a little longer to learn how to do this. Susan asks about auditory learners and Karen explains that some of these tools provide auditory support.

Favorite Tools: Inspiration and Kidspiration rise to the top.

Webspiration is a new web-based tool in beta form.

Vizio is another possibility.

C-Map is available online.


About Us

The LT Green Room is a podcast for Renewal, Retooling and Conversations about Learning. It is co-hosted by Susan Manning and Dan Balzer and its show topics are often drawn from members of LearningTimes.org, a free online community of education and training professionals from across the globe. The LT Green Room gives listeners (and ourselves) an opportunity to reflect on what they're doing behind the scene that results in an effective learning experience.


Co-Host & Producer
Susan Manning
Co-Host & Producer
Dan Balzer
Executive Producer
Carl Heine
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