ExploraTree – Free Online Library of Thinking Guides
Exploratree is a free web resource where you can access a library of ready-made interactive thinking guides, print them, edit them or make your own. You can share them and work on them in groups too.
The Exploratree web resource has been developed by Futurelab and emerged out of our work on the Enquiring Minds project. It provides a series of ready-made interactive ‘thinking guides’ or ‘frameworks’ which can support students’ projects and research. Thinking guides support the thinking or working through of an issue, topic or question and help to shape, define and focus an idea and also support the planning required to investigate it further. Exploratree guides can be used as a basis for whole class discussion, or emailed to individuals or groups to complete. They can also be used as a presentation tool to share your findings and thinking with others. As well as providing a set of ready to use thinking guides, which are completely customisable and shareable, Exploratree also enables teachers and students to create their own simply and easily.
With Exploratree you can:
- Use the ready-made thinking guides
- Make a new thinking guide from scratch
- Use it to set class projects
- Print them out (they can go as big as A0)
- Change and customise thinking guides, you can add or change text, shapes, images etc.
- As a teacher, you can set up the sequence that you want the thinking guide to be revealed in, so that you can stage the thinking activity
- You can fill in a thinking guide and complete your project on the website
- You can present your project
- You can send your thinking guide to a whole group of people
- You can submit a thinking guide for comments, so it can’t be edited but just reviewed
- Work in groups on the same thinking guide
The Exploratree idea came from observing the process of classroom enquiry. Working with teachers and children over a term in Autumn 2006, we found that the collages and projects that the students were working on could benefit from being created digitally as they could be more easily edited and changed, presented to the group, and shared with other people. We also found that many teachers and students find thinking guides a very useful resource in the classroom and that a website where you can print, share and set thinking guide projects could really help on enquiry projects.