Use of Graphic Organizers Enhances the Use of Technology
The use of Graphic Organizers enhances technology. In fact, the Graphical User Interface (GUI) modern computer monitor "desktop" is a Graphical Organizer.
As a matter of fact, the World Wide Web is one large (some would say humongous) collection of graphical pages; but, how well the Web is "organized" is still a matter of debate.
And from another point of view, an electronic presentation can be considered a three-dimensional Graphic Organizer.
Or consider that a spreadsheet program can create many kinds of graphs from the same chart data, or, consider that a spreadsheet summary page can collect and consolidate information from data found on cells from worksheets else where in the data stack.
You can also consider a word processing program that contains "Bookmarks" to be a three-dimensional organizer. A library online catalog might be considered a three-dimensional organizer, too.
Many other tasks, such as creating Graphical Organizers, can be performed with the use of a computer.
Graphical Organizer Software
There are also many programs that claim to be Graphical Organizers, mostly on the level of "Mind Mapping" Software.
Sample "Mind Mapping" software applications are available in this eBook.
Making Computer Access Time More Productive with Graphic Organizers
Graphic Organizers also can be used to structure students' computer time so that students remain focused on the assigned tasks.
This structuring can be done with the use of a paper form, diagram, flow chart, mind map, checklist, or other tool.
This structuring can also be done with an electronic, on-screen computer form.
A file that the teacher prepares that contains instructions and a set of links to pre-selected Web sites is another example of how a Graphic Organizer can expand the use of technology.
The Future of Technology
Computers are set for another "revolution" over the next few years because of a language called Extensible Markup Language (XML). This language is used with "Style Sheets" or "Document Type Definitions (DTDs)." DTDs are actually the text-rules equivalent of a Graphic Organizer.
What this means is that data can be re-organized to provide as many views as are needed.
XML represents the "ultimate" Graphic Organizer (for now) because data is separated from the way that it is viewed. This means that information, such as the text of a book, can be organized with XML markup so that, without any additional work to make formatting changes, the contents can be published on a eBook-ROM disk or as a Web site.
Magazine publishers are already using this approach, that is, using only one data file for their paper publication, and the same data file for their electronic, online version. Because of the graphic organizer ability of the style sheets or DTDs, no document conversion is necessary.
Editors do not have to do anything to the XML data file, even though the online and print media look very different; because the Graphic Organizer (Style Sheet or Document Type Definition) automatically adjusts the presentation of the information in different ways.
Major software publishers are already selling products that save information in the XML format. We predict that in a few years, software developers will create program interfaces that will allow, for example, an entire class (or campus) to paste student stories into a form, and immediately have a classroom or campus-based anthology.
Look for this development, coming soon, to a computer screen near you.