Free Technology for Teachers: Brainstormer
Free Technology for Teachers: Brainstormer

Brainstormer is a new online brainstorming tool that is easy to use and helps solve the "what do we do now?" problem that often arises at the end of group brainstorming sessions. Brainstormer solves that problem by letting members of the brainstorming session vote for their favorite ideas. 

Brainstormer is quick and easy to use. Registration is not required in order to host or participate in a Brainstormer session. To get started simply head to the site and click "setup brainstorm." The next screen will prompt you to write a question or problem to brainstorm about. After writing your prompt you'll enter your name and on the next screen you'll get a link to share with the people you want join your session. Participants will join by just clicking the link you share with them.

In a Brainstormer session you can set a time limit of five, ten, fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes. You can reset the timer if you need more time and you can end the session early if the group has run out of ideas. Whenever your Brainstormer session ends a voting screen appears and all group members can vote for their favorite ideas. 

Participants in Brainstormer sessions can write and submit as many ideas as they like. All submitted ideas appear as sticky notes on the screen. Participants' screen names do not appear on voting page. 

Applications for Education
I've reviewed a lot of online brainstorming tools over the years. With the exception of one (Dotstorming) they all leave the question of "which idea should we act on first?" up to discussion. Those discussions can take as long or longer than the brainstorming session itself. Having a voting component at the end of Brainstormer sessions can give students clarity as to which ideas they should act on first. Not having screen names on the voting page could help to prevent the voting being influenced by the perceived popularity or perceived intellect of a student.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and TodayHeadline.



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