Thinking tools

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Phillip M. Perry, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Books. Web sites. Software programs. “Thinking tools” come in many forms.

    How about a thread that lists the resources we find most useful?

    I’ll start things off with the entry below, and will return from time to time with others I’ve recently discovered.

    Got a favorite or two of your own? Please post.

    Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Online. (Oxford English Dictionary: The definitive record of the English language)

    The OED lists the senses of words in chronological order from earliest times to the present day. Even senses that become obsolete remain in place with appropriate tags.

    I probably click to this web site more often than any other as I pursue my studies. Because modern terminology seems to build upon prior sense foundations, OED’s semantic threads help me achieve a more complete understanding of critical terms. That, in turn, facilitates insightful thinking and productive writing.

    On the downside, I have found the OED’s pronunciation symbols confusing and often turn to other sources for the spoken equivalents of difficult names and terms.

    It all comes with a cost: Subscriptions run $29.95 a month or $295 a year.
  2. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

    Thanks Phillip. Good to see you on. How are your studies?
  3. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

    Since 1996 the Study Guides and Strategies web site has been researched, authored, maintained and supported by Joe Landsberger as an international, learner-centric, educational public service. Permission is granted to freely copy, adapt, and distribute individual Study Guides in print format in non-commercial educational settings that benefit learners. Please be aware that the Guides welcome, and are under, continuous review and revision. For that reason, digitization and reproduction of all content on the Internet can only be with permission through a licensed agreement. Linking to the Guides is encouraged!

    Study Guides and Strategies
  4. Hi Cravenco. Very well, thank you. About halfway through the Harrison Middleton program, deep into War and Peace. Have you outlined your program yet? Send me an IM with details and any questions.

    And post your favorite thinking tool here! :)

    Edit: Just saw your study guides post. Impressive! Will add a bookmark to my browser.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2010
  5. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

  6. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

  7. Inspiration. Inspiration - Comprehend. Create. Communicate. Achieve More. |

    Inspiration is one of a number of popular software programs for creating concept maps and mind maps. I have been using both these tools in my studies. They seem to enhance understanding and assist memory by rendering complex ideas in graphic forms that can reinforce written texts.

    Here is my understanding of each. I am fairly new to this topic so feel free to post corrections.

    Concept maps are visualizations of relationships. Concept maps can be particularly useful to illustrate forces in play among entities.

    Here is a concept map I created with Inspiration. It attempts to show some influences on Plato’s thought:

    More information: Concept map - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Mind maps are visual outlines. They can be useful to diagram hierarchies of ideas, or conceptual links around a central idea.

    Here is a mind map, also created with Inspiration, that attempts to show synonyms for and manifestations of Plato’s ideal forms:

    More information: Mind map - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Inspiration price: $69.00. Google "mind maps" for alternative free programs.
  8. Free online Dictionary of English Pronunciation - How to Pronounce English words [ ]

    What is the correct pronunciation of viscount? VIS-count? Or VIE-count? Or how about palatomaxillary? Is the accent on the MAX or ILL? Questions such as those can be difficult to answer quickly and authoritatively. Very often, though, we need a quick answer before an oral presentation. Or maybe we just want to enhance our understanding as we read challenging texts.

    That’s why I keep a shortcut to on my browser bar. Its vocalizations of words are far less ambiguous than dictionary entries, at least for me.

    There aren’t too many proper names in that site, although Hippolyte is there. An alternative for names is
    Pronounce Names - Dictionary of Name Pronunciation, How to pronounce names, How to say a name, Name pronunciation, Name pronunciations, How to pronounce a name

    Still not too sure of Helene, the name of the nobleman’s daughter in War and Peace. That name has an accent over the first e and a grave over the second. Is it HEL-en? Hell-ENE? Helen-a? When, as in this example, the above sources don’t help I turn to Dr. Google with something like “pronounce Helene.” Here is one result:
    How do you pronounce the name "Helene" Helen-ee, or "hel-een" or what. Its a Victorian name? - Yahoo! Answers
  9. MISin08

    MISin08 New Member

  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Sometimes I think that the average college student would be better off having to take a handful of courses in the area of Critical Thanking rather than English Lit, History, etc. In the long run it might be more valuable to learn how to think analytically than to have read a bunch of novels (did I REALLY just say that?). Anyway, here's a cert program that helps with critical thinking.

    Critical and Creative Thinking Certificate -
  11. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

    I have and still use mind maps. It helps bring things into focus. Thanks Phillip.
  12. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

  13. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I would also highly recommend the book "How To Think Straight" by Anthony Flew (a famous British Philosopher) :thinking:
  14. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

    Practical reasoning and clear thinking are essential for everyone if we are to make sense of the information we receive each day. Being able to quickly know the difference between valid and invalid arguments, the contradictory versus the contrary, vagueness and ambiguity, contradiction and self-contradiction, the truthful and the fallacious, separates clear thinkers from the crowd. "How to Think Straight" lays the foundation for critical reasoning by showing many ways in which our thinking goes awry. Celebrated philosopher Antony Flew entertainingly instructs on the many and varied faults that occur in argument, the power of reason, how to challenge assertions and find evidence, and how not to be persuaded by half-truths. Flew also examines poor reasoning, and why we should be concerned with finding the truth. Lucid, terse, and sensible, with study questions and exercises to help along the way, this enlightening second edition will help you develop the skills necessary to argue and reason effectively by following a few simple, easy-to-remember directions. How to Think Straight: An Introduction to Critical Reasoning (9781573922395): Antony Flew: Books
  15. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

  16. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

    I think and know that critical thinking skills are the foundational aspect of not only higher education, but higher education within the online environment.
  17. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

    Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos looks to be, from reading some comments, a great book to read. Something everyone should have on their bookshelf.
  18. Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Online. Home : Oxford English Dictionary Part II

    Please see the first message in this thread for Part I. I tried to edit that message with the following information, but could not.

    December 2, 2010: The OED has redesigned its site for ease of use and expanded functionality. Perhaps the most dramatic change is the integration of the dictionary with the Historical Thesaurus to the OED, published in book form in 2009.

    Here’s an example of how that works. Suppose you look up the word “theory” in the dictionary. Six broad definitions are listed in historical order, including the familiar modern sense of confirmed explanation of a phenomenon. If you click on the “thesaurus” link next to that definition you get a pop-up of nearly two dozen categories of words with similar meanings, each accompanied by a date of first usage. Clicking on one such entry, “construct,” takes you to a definition for that word.

    Alternatively, you can look up “theory” using the online Thesaurus. You are presented with a list of nine outline positions in breadcrumb format, which presents the word’s nuanced senses in an easily understood visual form. Click on your preferred usage, such as “theorem,” and you are taken to that word’s dictionary listing.

    The OED has also programmed its new site to present the results of some interesting data mining. For example, you can get a listing of the sources for the project’s three million quotations in order of frequency. The most popular source is the Times of London with over 36,000 citations, followed by William Shakespeare with over 33,000. I was surprised to see a third place Walter Scott, with nearly 17,000 quotations.
  19. mattbrent

    mattbrent Well-Known Member

    Hi gang!

    I'm not sure if you all know about this one or not, but Intel has some thinking tools. They're free, and I've used them with my high school classes. The "Seeing Reason" tool is like a generic, though less powerful, version of inspiration.

  20. Intel Thinking Tools. Intel Education - K12 Thinking Tools

    :thanks: Thanks Matt, cravenco, Kizmet, MISin08, for contributing to this thread. I had a chance to review the Intel thinking tools, which are geared toward K-12 education and look as if they could be stimulating to young minds.

    The Visual Ranking Tool encourages thinking about criteria for ranking lists.

    The site says the Seeing Reason Tool "creates maps of cause and effect," to make "causal maps" or what has elsewhere been called "Concept Maps."

    The Showing Evidence Tool provides a graphic way to attach blocks of textual evidence to a claim.

    It looks as if all of these tools are cloud based, making them accessible to anyone connected to the Internet.

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