This free app will allow your students to create a variety of graphic organizers from the ground up, including the district-adopted Thinking Maps. Your students will make greater connections between content information and thinking processes when they are allowed to construct their own organizers and literally build their own meaning. From simple to more elaborate, this app is a versatile classroom tool that is sure to garner more engagement than pencil and paper.
Text Version of Instructions
iDesk Lite is a great free app that is perfect for allowing students to create graphic organizers, such as Thinking Maps. In this tutorial, students will create a Flow Map to communicate the connotation of a series of words and classify them along a gradient scale. Let’s get started.
- Tap to open iDesk Lite.
- You will see a screen that looks like a wooden desk. You will see thumbnail images of each project that is stored in the app. This free version of iDesk lets the user store a total of four projects at any one time.
- Tap the plus (+) sign in the top right-hand corner to create a new project.
- This white screen is your project background. Think of it as a virtual sheet of paper. To navigate back to the previous screen, tap the mosaic button in the top left-hand corner. To clear the entire note and start over, click the button in the top right-hand corner that has a piece of paper with a plus (+) sign and a minus (-) sign. To utilize tools within the app, use the buttons located across the bottom of your screen.
- To begin your project, add a shape. Do this by using your finger to draw the desired shape on the screen. The great thing about this app is that iDesk will recognize the shape you are trying to draw and will translate it into a straight-line version once you remove your finger from the screen.
- Tap a shape twice to see a menu that will allow you to order multiple shapes into layers.
- Since we are making a Flow Map, we need several uniform squares. To replicate a shape, tap it once to select it. Then, tap the button on the tool menu that shows two overlapping squares and the number 2. This will make an exact copy of the shape you selected. Repeat this process as often as needed. For this tutorial, three boxes are needed.
- Next, tap, hold, and drag to rearrange the squares on the screen.
- Now, draw a gradient arrow from one side of the page to the other. Again, iDEsk will recognize the shape you are trying to draw and will replace it with a straight-edge version.
- To change the color of an object, click on button at the bottom of your screen that shows a paint pallet and a paint brush.
- Tap to select the shape you want to change; then, tap to select the color you would like. Repeat this process as needed.
- To change the background color or pattern, tap on “Backgrounds” on the color menu. Tap to make a selection.Adding text is easy; simply tap the button with “abc” on it and begin typing with the keyboard that appears. In this tutorial, we will make three textboxes and fill them with a set of closely related words. Then, we will add intensity descriptors to place at either end of the gradient. The words for this lesson are: impartial, just, and fair. The object is to have students arrange the words along a gradient from “most lacking in bias” to “least lacking in bias.” To allow students to choose related words and examine the nuances of their meanings, you might want to use the free app called “Easily Confused Words.” Make sure to check out our tutorial on using that app as well.
- Have students explain the connotation and nuances of meaning for each word that they chose. Tell them they must justify the order that the arranged the words. Remember, to move textboxes, tap, hold, and drag.
- Here is a finished connotation Flow Map. To export or share, tap on the button in the top-right corner that has two people on it. Choose the most appropriate export option for your classroom. Remember, saving to the camera roll is always a great option, given the usefulness of the free app called WiFi Photo. Check out the tutorial on WiFi Photo to learn more.
- To return to the previous screen, tap the mosaic in the top left-hand corner. To find more helpful tips on navigating the app and manipulating your projects, click on the question-mark in the bottom left-hand corner.